Organic milk: Are the benefits worth the cost? (Related to IGF levels)
- 08-27-2006, 10:05 PM
Organic milk: Are the benefits worth the cost? (Related to IGF levels)
Demand for organic milk, which can sell for up to double the cost of other milk, is booming. Deciding whether to spend the extra money is not as clear-cut a decision as some suggest.
People may turn to organic milk for health benefits, or environmental and animal rights’ issues. But when evaluating the health claims, so far, research does not support a health advantage of organic over conventional milk for any segment of the population.
That's because the U.S. Department of Agriculture has four requirements to define milk as organic, and confusion abounds about each.
Milk that is labeled “USDA Organic” must come from cows that have not been treated with bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase milk production. People who focus on this goal express concern that hormones in milk could raise the risk of hormone-related cancers, or lead to higher levels of an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) linked with cancer.
But BGH is a protein hormone, which means that if any does appear in milk, enzymes and acid in our digestive tract destroy it. Dale Bauman, a professor of animal science at Cornell University, emphasizes that if IGF-1 is slightly higher in milk from BGH-treated cows, it represents a tiny fraction of the IGF we all produce each day. Bauman reports that we would have to drink 95 quarts of milk to equal the IGF-1 we make daily in our saliva and other digestive tract secretions.
We need to differentiate between levels of IGF in our blood, which some studies link to a possible increase in cancer risk, and levels of IGF in our food. Several organic-related Web sites refer to a study in which vegans (who eat no animal products) showed 13 percent lower IGF than non-vegans. But, a closer look at that study shows that milk consumption was not related to blood levels of IGF. Research shows high blood levels of IGF are linked with overweight, lack of exercise, and diets too high in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates or total calories.
A second characteristic of organic milk is that these cows are not treated with antibiotics. If a cow in an organic herd does need to be treated with antibiotics, she is not returned to the herd for a period of 12 months. Yet in conventional herds, milk from cows that receive antibiotics is not used until tests show it is antibiotic-free. Tanks of milk are routinely tested to ensure no antibiotic content.
A third requirement of organic milk is that cows’ feed is grown without pesticides, whether the feed is grass or grain. Recent USDA reports show that nonorganic milk may contain low levels of certain pesticides, but these are far below established tolerance levels. Using organic feed may support sustainable farming practices, yet research has not found it affects the nutritional value of the cows’ milk.
The final requirement for organic milk is that cows must have “access to pasture.” Many consumers assume this means cows graze in fields most of the year. But, the current standard does not require a specific length of time in pasture. A cow can graze in pasture only a limited time and still produce milk that is certified organic.
On the question of grain- versus grass-fed cows, some suggest that pasture-fed cows may produce milk that contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a special type of fat that may protect against cancer and other health problems. But Michael Pariza, professor of food microbiology and toxicology at the University of Wisconsin, and a leading expert on CLA in dairy products, says grass feeding by itself does not assure increased CLA. He and Bauman both note that cows fed mixed grains with soybeans or other additions can produce milk that has higher CLA levels than milk from grass-fed cows. This may lead you to spend less on milk and more on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and other healthful foods.
Nutrition Notes is provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive
- 08-28-2006, 12:26 AM
At my age, I want the growth hormone and extra IGF-1. What it does do is make children grow faster and bigger. That may or may not be a problem also.
I will not buy organic milk.
- 08-28-2006, 02:05 AM
The sad part is that most of the US population is probably not aware of these things, In all reality it is just another marketing scheme to get certain people to buy things. the effort would be much better spent getting rid of refined sugar products and such then worrying about how much grass the cow was eating
08-28-2006, 12:45 PM
organic milks sold in the stores is not much different than regular milk hence the results of their studies where about the same. The Benefits of Milk and extra IGF + high amounts of CLA are in Real unpasturized/Unhomoginized grass fed organic cows. It's hard to find because it's straight from the tit and into a cold tank - you must be near farm land or have access to Coop's near by that will sell you this milk - The sites below are full of info.
A CAMPAIGN FOR REAL (RAW) MILK!
Weston A. Price Foundation
I am in the process of starting 2-3 gallons a week for the benefits - it's not cheap though - a coop is $150 to buy a share of the cow then $14 a week for 2 gallons (you pay for feed, unkeep and milking) plus I have to drive 30 mins each way to pick it up (gas $) - will the benefits be worth it? not sure but I have yet to find any bodybuilder that has been doing this for a while - on a side most farm boys drank real milk and tons of it they say and their frames are huge
With the got milk ads and the money that is in dairy your never going to see real milk in a store.
08-29-2006, 05:58 AM
08-29-2006, 06:09 AM
08-29-2006, 11:03 PM
08-31-2006, 12:06 AM
Let those hippie vegans drink that over-priced organic milk LOL. I like my milk spiked with GH & IGF-1
08-31-2006, 01:18 AM
08-31-2006, 02:40 AM
My grandfather was a dairy farmer and I drank unpasturized fresh milk all the time.
Nuttin special about me or my frame. lol. It's actually a little hard to chug down straight because it's stinky.
IF organic were cheaper I probably would buy it. Right now, I do buy it for my pregnant wife..just because. I have noticed that it does taste a little richer/creamier.
The article has a nebulous statement or two like;
"contain low levels of certain pesticides, but these are far below established tolerance levels"
"Tolerance levels" I am wondering what exactly that means. Tolerance for not getting sick because of the pesticide or tolerance so that you do not have an increased chance of cancer. I keep in mind that although the level of a certain chemical may be low, if it is really carcinogenic it still not a good idea to put into your body.
Yes, O milk is hyped up, but I still like the concept of organics and try to support them when I can. If you can grow stuff without adding chemicals..why wouldn't you?
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