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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Benefits of Organic Milk vs. Regular Milk

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Is organic milk really healthier than regular milk? What are the benefits of organic milk? This guide outlines 4 reasons why you should always buy organic dairy, and why it’s worth it!

photo of a glass of milk - benefits of organic milk

When it comes to buying organic, there are many different ways to prioritize. The Dirty Dozen is a great guide to produce, but there’s more to buying organic than just produce! When it comes to milk and dairy, organic milk is my milk of choice.

The reason I choose milk (instead of milk alternatives) is for a few reasons:

  1. I don’t have any digestive issues when it comes to milk or lactose
  2. Most milk alternatives have added sugars, preservatives and stabilizers, and I like the fact that milk just has one ingredient 
  3. Most milk alternatives are very low in protein (except soy milk, but I try to avoid eating too much soy), so regular low fat organic milk is better protein wise for me.

But the most important thing I emphasize when I get questions about milk is the importance of choosing organic dairy/milk whenever you can!

What are the Organic Requirements for Milk?

Milk can be certified as “USDA Organic” only if:

  • There are no synthetic fertilizers used on the farm
  • Farmers avoid most synthetic pesticides
  • Farmers do not use growth hormones or antibiotics
  • Farmers never use genetically modified (GMO) crops or feed for their cows

Is organic milk really better for you?

Yes! There are 3 main benefits of organic milk:

  1. Organic milk has more healthy fats than regular milk, because when you feed cows more grass, you improve the fatty acid profile of the milk they produce
  2. Organic milk has no risk of exposure to hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.
  3. Organic milk has been found to have higher concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins/minerals than some regular milk brands
photo of a farm - benefits of organic milk

What is the difference between organic and regular milk?

1. No artificial growth hormones. On some dairy farms, cows are given artificial hormones to help them to produce more milk. Organic milk is from cows free from growth hormones and antibiotics.

2. No synthetic pesticides. Most synthetic pesticides and herbicides (such as Roundup) are prohibited on the 100% organic feed that cows graze on that produce organic milk. I prefer buying milk where I know that the supply chain only uses organic-approved substances.

3. No GMOs. Cows that produce organic milk only eat 100% organic food, which prohibits GMOs (in the feed/on the farm).

Why does organic milk last longer than regular milk?

Not all organic milk lasts longer than regular milk. But some organic milk is pasteurized using UHT processing (ultrahigh temperature processing).

In this process, milk is heated to 280 degrees F for 2-4 seconds killing ALL bacteria in it. In regular pasteurization, milk is heated to 160 degrees for at least 15 seconds, which kills the harmful bacteria but not all of it.

So organic milk that is ultra-pasteurized will last longer than regular milk. Dairy Producers use this process for organic milk because it needs to stay fresh longer – since organic products are not produced throughout the country so it may have to travel farther from farm to store.

I actually recommend choosing organic milk that is not ultra-pasteurized since some bacteria is good for you. But if that’s not available in your store, I’d still choose ultra-pasteurized organic milk over regular milk.

One last reason to choose organic milk: It helps support small organic family farms, which are the primary producers of organic milk in America!


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