Is pasteurization good or bad? Why raw milk may be the better option
Have you been taught that pasteurization is good for you? Many proponents of pasteurization claim that it kills harmful bacteria without damaging food. But research indicates that may not be the case.1 Keep reading to learn more about how pasteurized products may do more harm than good.
What is pasteurization anyway?
Raw, living foods have healthy enzymes that help you digest. If you struggle to break down your meals, then try Body Ecology’s Assist Enzymes for Dairy & Protein to help glean maximum nutrition.
Pasteurization is a process that heats liquids and foods to kill viruses and harmful organisms. Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization in the 1860s at a time when food production and storage were not nearly as sanitized as they are today.
Food (whether unpasteurized or not) produced and stored in unsanitary conditions is what actually causes disease.
Unfortunately, the high temperatures of the pasteurization process may:2
- Denature fragile milk proteins.
- Destroy active enzymes in food.
- Diminish the vitamin content of food.
- Kill beneficial bacteria.
- Not kill all harmful microorganisms.
Pasteurization may actually “kill” food and make it less nutritious. The Weston A. Price Foundation has even linked pasteurized milk to health problems, including allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, and heart disease.2
Dead food vs. living food: What’s the difference?
According to Dr. Edward Howell, food heated above 118 degrees will destroy enzymes.3
- Contain beneficial enzymes.
- Have potential to effectively treat disease.4
- Help give you energy.
- Retain most of their vitamins.
Live foods are very important to the Body Ecology System of Health and Healing, and we recommend eating live foods, as long as they support your health and wellness.
Some pasteurized foods seem ‘healthy’
Here are several common pasteurized foods that may appear “healthy,” but they’re actually missing key enzymes and essential nutrients:
- Commercial sauerkraut
- Eggs and Egg Beaters
These foods are best eaten live because they retain their original nutrients. In fact, there are many benefits to eating raw foods.
It may help to know that:
- Cooking food can be just as healthy as eating food raw, in some cases and for certain health conditions.
- But this does not apply in the case of pasteurization, when foods are over-heated and most of what we dearly need is killed.
- Our modern lifestyle, filled with stress, processed foods, environmental toxins, and prescription and over-the-counter drugs, is already destroying the healthy enzymes and microbes we need to keep our immunity strong.
- Eating raw foods is a great way to help your body regain what has been lost, giving your immunity a fighting chance.
When it comes to eating live foods, remember the Principle of Uniqueness: Each person is different. You may have been told you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. But raw, organic dairy products might be fine if they’re properly fermented. The milk protein casein is a difficult protein to digest, so first, heal your digestion by following Stage 1 of the Body Ecology Program.
Because your gut deserves better. Learn how to become a fermented foodie.
Where to begin: Eating raw dairy, ACV & almonds
Raw dairy (from cows eating fresh grass, not silage) contains plenty of essential fatty acids, substances that may help you build muscle mass and lose body fat.5,6 These fatty acids may also stimulate your immune system and protect against disease.
Unprocessed, fresh milk has been found to have a higher omega-3 content than milk that’s pasteurized or homogenized (where the milk fat is distributed throughout), potentially showing why kids who drink unprocessed milk have lower instances of asthma.7 Raw milk may have antiviral properties; the Raw Milk Institute confirms that it’s “highly unlikely” that drinking raw milk could transmit COVID-19.8,9
We recommend the avoidance of dairy products containing casein in the early stages of the Body Ecology Diet. But, you may be a good candidate for dairy foods, such as kefir, yogurt, and even some raw cheeses if your intestinal lining is healthy and if you have diary-loving beneficial bacteria and yeast living inside you in your inner ecosystem.
If you love dairy foods and want to see if they’re right for you:
- Introduce only one of these foods slowly and in small amounts. Give the microbes in your intestines time to accustom to this new food. Then slowly increase the amount you eat until you can digest it efficiently.
- To help you digest dairy, try Assist Enzymes for Dairy & Protein. These digestive enzymes will help you break down the casein in milk and other protein-rich foods.
- Young Coconut Kefir and CocoBiotic are delicious probiotic drinks that also help add dairy-loving bacteria to your body. So eventually, you may be able to tolerate raw dairy products, like milk kefir.
You may experience first-hand raw milk’s refreshing, rich, and — what many say to be — superior taste. This is attributed to raw milk’s native microbes, beneficial bacteria that positively affect and enhance its flavor compared to milk that’s pasteurized.
Next up: Raw, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a naturally fermented liquid that may help balance your blood’s pH levels, act as a prebiotic, and support cleansing. Apple cider vinegar could also help manage diabetes, decreasing fasting blood sugar levels.10 Centuries ago, it was said to be used to help guard against infection.
You can add 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar to water for a purifying drink in the morning.
You might also like to sip a small amount of the same mixture during meals. This is especially helpful for digesting animal protein. The raw vinegar acts as a natural digestive enzyme.
And finally: Because of salmonella outbreaks traced to raw almonds in the 2000s, the USDA made it mandatory in 2007 to pasteurize almonds, along with the Almond Board of California, which oversees the production and distribution of the majority of the almonds sold in the U.S. and Canada.
This may seem like a good move. However, there’s a major downside. California can use propylene oxide (PPO) when pasteurizing. PPO, according to the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens, is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”11
Be sure to examine your almond sources so that you find true, raw almonds.
It’s time to rethink the whole concept of irradiating and pasteurizing our foods to kill bacteria. With today’s refrigeration and sanitary conditions, we’re not at risk like our ancestors were in the past.
If our foods are grown in healthy soils, if our animals are cared for properly, and if we build healthy inner ecosystems in our intestines to protect us against the bad guys, we should be able to obtain the nutrients and enzymes our bodies need to thrive without the need for pasteurization. Pasteur didn’t know this at the time.
In summary, raw, live foods can be a wonderful way to energize your body and benefit from the life-giving properties of real, living whole foods. Pasteurized foods, on the other hand, may be less nutritious.
- 1. Fusco, Vincenzina. Microbial quality and safety of milk and milk products in the 21st century. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Volume 19, Issue 4, July 2020. Pages 2013-2049.
- 2. “Real Milk Trifold Brochure.” Weston A. Price Foundation, 2020.
- 3. Howell, Edward. Enzyme Nutrition: the Food Enzyme Concept. Avery Pub. Group, 1985.
- 4. Cunningham, Eleese. What is a raw foods diet and are there any risks or benefits associated with it? Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 104, Issue 10, 1623.
- 5. Smith GI, Atherton P, Reeds DN, et al. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(2):402-412.
- 6. Whigham LD, Watras AC, Schoeller DA. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1203. PMID: 17490954.
- 7. Tabea Brick, Yvonne Schober, Christian Böcking, Juha Pekkanen, Jon Genuneit, Georg Loss, Jean-Charles Dalphin, Josef Riedler, Roger Lauener, Wolfgang Andreas Nockher, Harald Renz, Outi Vaarala, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Erika von Mutius, Markus Johannes Ege, Petra Ina Pfefferle. ω-3 fatty acids contribute to the asthma-protective effect of unprocessed cow’s milk. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.10.042.
- 8. Haiyan Sun and Håvard Jenssen (September 12th 2012). Milk Derived Peptides with Immune Stimulating Antiviral Properties, Milk Protein, Walter L. Hurley, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/50158.
- 9. “Raw milk and COVID-19.” Raw Milk Institute, 2020.
- 10. White AM, Johnston CS. Vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations in adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2007 Nov;30(11):2814-5. doi: 10.2337/dc07-1062. Epub 2007 Aug 21. PMID: 17712024.
- 11. “14th Report on Carcinogens.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program, 2016.