You may have heard that raw milk is more nutritious than processed milk, or that unpasteurized milk is healthier than pasteurized milk. There’s a small group of people choosing raw milk because they believe it has health benefits. Before you get caught up in the raw milk fad, make sure that you know the facts.
What is raw milk?
Raw milk is milk that has not undergone pasteurization. Milk pasteurization is a process that involves briefly heating milk, and then rapidly cooling it. Pasteurization kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites that could contaminate milk. Since raw milk has not been pasteurized, it can still contain these pathogens.
Why do people drink raw milk?
Some people believe that pasteurization reduces the nutritional benefits of raw milk. Those who advocate consuming raw milk suggest that unpasteurized milk provides health benefits that pasteurization removes. They might also choose raw milk because they prefer a natural and unprocessed milk.
Pasteurization is important
When you think of processed foods, you might think of plastic-like cheese spread where cheese is the fourth ingredient on the list. However, any packaged food that you buy in a store is processed (packaging is a process). Pasteurization is minimal process that ensures that milk is safe to drink.
Flash pasteurization involves heating milk to 161.6 degrees for 15 seconds to kill harmful bacteria and viruses and then rapidly cooling the milk. Removing viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms from milk helps prevents sickness and bacterial infections.
The risks of drinking raw milk
Needless to say, consuming milk with viruses, bacteria, and parasites is dangerous. These germs can cause infections, illness, and even death. The FDA and the CDC both agree that it is unsafe to consume raw milk.
Unpasteurized milk contains pathogens that can cause, diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders and death.
Raw milk is not worth the risk
Unpasteurized milk is especially dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems. The dangers of raw milk are far greater than any perceived health benefits of unpasteurized milk. In moderation, pasteurized milk is nutritious and you aren’t taking a risk with bacterial infections.