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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.

Raw vs. pasteurized?

During pasteurization, milk is heated to high temperatures (>161°F) then rapidly cooled to kill harmful bacteria, including salmonella, E.coli 0157:H7 and listeria. While raw-milk enthusiasts claim heating milk destroys its natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria, studies show that the nutritional differences between pasteurized and raw milk are slight. What’s more, public health experts warn that drinking raw milk is like playing Russian roulette. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that raw milk accounted for 1,007 illnesses and two deaths between 1998 and 2005.

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