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A Buyer's Guide to Milk

Help for consumers in the dairy aisle.

With its balanced mix of carbs and protein and rich supply of calcium and other bone-strengthening nutrients, (cow’s) milk certainly does a body good. But with so many choices on grocers’ shelves, how do you know which one you should buy? EatingWell helps you cut through the confusion with this guide.

Organic or not?

According to The Nielsen Company, sales of organic milk jumped from $550 million in 2003 to almost $900 million in the first quarter of 2007. Polls suggest people associate organic milk with superior nutrition, better treatment of animals and a healthier planet. But there’s no evidence that organic milk is more nutritious. While preliminary research has suggested that grass-fed cows produce milk with more vitamin E and omega-3 fats than cows fed grains, organic standards don’t require that cows be solely grass-fed. (Farmers must use organic fertilizers and pesticides and may not give cows preventive antibiotics or supplemental growth hormones; animals must also get some time outdoors.)

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