The Low-Down on Dairy

Mar 08, 2022

Dairy is confusing.

There are so many different varieties and SO many perspectives on whether it should be part of a healthy diet.

For years I followed a strict dairy-free diet - replacing milk with dairy-free ‘milks’ and cheese with vegan substitutes or nutritional yeast. I saw little to no improvement in my digestive health or acne.

I was told by doctors, dermatologists, friends, family (aka everyone) that dairy is unhealthy - “it is inflammatory”, “it causes digestive distress and problematic skin”. People also claim that the saturated fat in dairy is unhealthy, increasing cholesterol and leading to heart disease.

The claim that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease has been debunked, as there is no association between the intake of saturated fat and a greater risk of heart disease. A study even suggests that eating dairy could reduce the risk of heart disease. This isn’t an interventional study, meaning it can’t prove causation, but it is an interesting look at some of the benefits of dairy.

The topic of dairy is full of confusion and myths.

So we created a comprehensive guide to answer all of your questions.

What are the different types of milk?

Raw milk: milk that has not been pasteurized - unprocessed and complete with bioavailable vitamins, enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and enzymes.

Pasteurized milk: milk that has been heated to extreme temperatures (around 161 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill supposedly dangerous bacteria. Most dairy products you find in the grocery store are pasteurized.

Ultra-pasteurized milk: milk is heated to high heat - approximately 280 degrees Fahrenheit - for a short period of time (approximately 2 seconds) and is then rapidly chilled back to 39 degrees to kill supposedly dangerous bacteria.

Low-temperature pasteurized milk: milk is heated to a lower temperature (usually 145 degrees Fahrenheit) for a longer period of time (around 35 minutes) to kill supposedly dangerous bacteria.

Homogenized milk: using high pressure to break down fat molecules in milk so that they remain suspended evenly throughout the milk instead of rising to the top. 

non-homogenized milk: milk that has not been through the homogenization process.


What are some of the health benefits of raw milk?

Raw milk is a nutrient-dense food - a great source of bioavailable vitamins and minerals. The healthy bacteria in raw milk are good for your gut flora. Raw dairy can be a great source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids and is high in calcium to build strong bones. The fat in raw dairy is a healthy source of fat to protect your cells and optimize cholesterol profiles.


If I am lactose intolerant, can I drink raw milk?

Lactose intolerance - the inability to digest lactose (the sugar) in dairy products - is extremely common. Since raw milk has not been pasteurized, the beneficial bacteria and enzymes remain intact, meaning the digestive enzyme lactase and bacteria in raw milk helps your body break down the lactose in milk. This is why most people do not suffer from symptoms of intolerance to raw milk. If you believe that you suffer from lactose intolerance, we suggest you try raw dairy if that is available to you. Raw dairy will always be more nutrient-dense than processed non-dairy alternatives.


Is raw milk safe?

Raw milk from a clean, trustworthy, tested source is safe (and healthy!) to consume.


How can I find raw milk?

The sale of raw milk is legal in 12 states in the U.S. If you are in California, Raw Farm dairy can be found in many grocery stores. To find a good source of raw milk near you, use this resource, this directory of farms, or connect with a local farmer.

If I can’t access raw milk, what are the best alternatives?

Our preferred non-dairy alternative is coconut milk with no fillers or additives. For a dairy option, stick to low-temp pasteurized and non-homogenized.


Have any other questions about dairy? Drop them in the comments so we can get back to you!


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