We have been taught that pasteurization is a good thing, a method of protecting ourselves against infectious diseases, but closer examination reveals that its merits have been highly exaggerated. The modern milking machine and stainless steel tank, along with efficient packaging and distribution, make pasteurization totally unnecessary for the purposes of sanitation. And pasteurization is no guarantee of cleanliness. All outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades — and there have been many — have occurred in pasteurized milk. This includes a 1985 outbreak in Illinois that struck 14,316 people causing at least one death. The salmonella strain in that batch of pasteurized milk was found to be genetically resistant to both penicillin and tetracycline. Raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. Raw milk in time turns pleasantly sour while pasteurized milk, lacking beneficial bacteria, will putrefy.
But that’s not all that pasteurization does to milk. Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed. Pasteurization alters milk’s mineral components such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as many trace minerals, making them less available. There is some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why milk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes.
Last but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk— in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium. That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer, nevertheless, from osteoporosis. Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat. After pasteurization, chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added — the former is toxic and has been linked to heart disease while the latter is difficult to absorb. The final indignity is homogenization which has also been linked to heart disease.
Powdered skim milk is added to the most popular varieties of commercial milk— one-percent and two-percent milk. Commercial dehydration methods oxidize cholesterol in powdered milk, rendering it harmful to the arteries. High temperature drying also creates large quantities of nitrate compounds, which are potent carcinogens.
Modern pasteurized milk, devoid of its enzyme content, puts an enormous strain on the body’s digestive mechanism. In the elderly, and those with milk intolerance or inherited weaknesses of digestion, this milk passes through not fully digested and can clog the tiny villi of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and promoting the uptake of toxic substances. The result is allergies, chronic fatigue and a host of degenerative diseases.
All the healthy milk-drinking populations studied by Dr. Price subsisted on raw milk, raw cultured milk or raw cheese from normal animals eating fresh grass or fodder. It is very difficult to find this kind of milk in America. In California and Georgia, raw milk was formerly available in health food stores. Intense harassment by state sanitation authorities has all but driven raw milk from the market in these states, in spite of the fact that it is technically legal. Even when available, this milk suffers from the same drawbacks as most supermarket milk — it comes from freak-pituitary cows, often raised in crowded barns on inappropriate feed. In some states you can buy raw milk at the farm. If you can find a farmer who will sell you raw milk from old fashioned Jersey or Guernsey cows, allowed to feed on fresh pasturage, then by all means avail yourself of this source. Some stores now carry pasteurized, but not homogenized, milk from cows raised on natural feed. Such milk may be used to make cultured milk products such as kefir, yoghurt, cultured buttermilk and cultured cream. Traditionally cultured buttermilk, which is low in casein but high in lactic acid, is often well tolerated by those with milk allergies, and gives excellent results when used to soak whole grain flours for baking. If you cannot find good quality raw milk, you should limit your consumption of milk products to cultured milk, cultured buttermilk, whole milk yoghurt, butter, cream and raw cheeses. Raw cheese ia available in all states. Much imported cheese is raw — look for the words “milk” or “fresh milk” on the label — and of very high quality.
Reprinted from Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, available from NewTrends Publishing (877) 707-1776
Sally Fallon Morell is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (with Mary G. Enig, PhD), a well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods with a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. She joined forces with Enig again to write Eat Fat, Lose Fat, and has authored numerous articles on the subject of diet and health. The President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and founder of A Campaign for Real Milk, Sally is also a journalist, chef, nutrition researcher, homemaker, and community activist. Her four healthy children were raised on whole foods including butter, cream, eggs and meat.
Mary G. Enig, PhD is an international expert in lipid biochemistry. She has headed a number of studies on the content and effects of trans fatty acids in America and Israel, and has successfully challenged government assertions that dietary animal fat causes cancer and heart disease. Recent scientific and media attention on the possible adverse health effects of trans fatty acids has brought increased attention to her work.
Now retired, she is a licensed nutritionist, certified by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, a qualified expert witness and nutrition consultant, contributing editor to a number of scientific publications, fellow of the American College of Nutrition and president of the Maryland Nutritionists Association. She is the author of over 60 technical papers and presentations. She served as vice-president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) and scientific editor of Wise Traditions, and is now a board member emeritus of Weston A. Price Foundation. She is the author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol and Eat Fat Lose Fat (with Sally Fallon Morell) and co-author of the bestselling cookbook Nourishing Traditions. She is the mother of three healthy children brought up on whole foods including butter, cream, eggs and meat.