Is Organic better than Conventional Milk?

Are you overwhelmed sometimes when you go to the grocery store? Maybe you heard a news program that said that organic food is better, or lemon juice is going to lower your blood sugar levels, or that you need to find Non-GMO food.

Well, these details don’t matter much at all compared to the big picture – all of the foods and beverages you consume, how much you consume, where you consume it, how you prepare it, and how varied your diet is.

Strawberry banana smoothie made with conventional 1% milk, a banana and a cup of strawberries.

What fascinates me about the current landscape of diet and nutrition, is how labels matter to a lot of folks, and yet not a lot has changed about what sort of diet is actually good for you. Consumers are often led to choose foods based on the claims on the label, or even the style of the packaging. They are also led to make purchases based on what they may hear in soundbites on television or social media.

For instance, have any of these MYTHS led your decisions?

  • Buy organic milk to avoid hormones
  • Look for the non-GMO label for the safest food that’s best for the environment
  • Gluten-free means it’s better for me
  • High fructose corn syrup is worse than cane sugar
  • Grains make you fat

FACTS on Organic VS Conventional Milk

There’s no difference in the safety, nutrition or health benefits of organic cow’s milk versus regular cow’s milk. The difference with any Certified USDA Organic product is with the farming practice, not the end product.

  • Organic milk claims to have more omega-3 fatty acids than regular milk, and it does. But, the amount is not significant. Fatty fish is still your best bet to get a healthy dose of omega-3s.
  • Perhaps you live alone and want your milk to last longer? Organic milk often has a longer shelf life because it is ultra-pasteurized at a higher temperature than conventional milk. Why? Since it’s a smaller market, it needs to have a longer shelf life as its shipped longer distances all over the country.
  • Organic milk is rBST-free. But guess what? All milk is rBST-free. Organic milk comes from cows that have not been treated with supplemental hormones or given antibiotics, but BST (Bovine somatotropin or sometimes called BGH – bovine growth hormone) is a hormone naturally present in all cows. Farmers used to use a small amount of the plant-based synthetic hormone (smaller than the human hormone dosing in birth control pills) to boost milk production, but this is no longer common practice (due to consumer demand based on misinformation). This hormone is a protein, and 90% or more of it is destroyed during pasteurization, while any remaining amino acids are digested like any other protein. (this hormone is not active in humans).
  • Also, all milk is antibiotic-free. While conventional dairy operations are permitted to use antibiotics on sick animals, those cows are quarantined during that time, until they are healthy and the antibiotic is no longer in their system. I side with allowing farmers to responsibly use antibiotics to treat animals when needed. It’s illegal to package milk that has any trace of antibiotics.

So depending on your budget, taste, or how often you consume milk, choose what you like, but understand that organic milk is no safer or more nutritious than conventional. And both will help lower your blood pressure!

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