The Superiority of Sprouted Grains

Filed under: Nutrition

Those of you who read this blog probably know that I am not a huge fan of grains. Not only are they highly overrated for health benefit purposes, I believe they can actually lead to a lot of negative health consequences. Most grains are highly allergenic, cause large insulin surges, and are lacking in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. They are also way too easy to over-consume, and it certainly seems that since the advent of the original Food Pyramid, people’s consumption of grains has increased, and so have we. Correlation does not equal cause-and-effect and there are a million other factors that play into this, but it is certainly one of them.

Over the course of human history, grains have not been a large portion of the diet for any significant amount of time. Only for the past 10-11,000 years or so have we domesticated plants and animals. This newfound ability did help create civilization, so it certainly has benefits, but it is a double-edged sword. Agriculture allowed for surplusses of food the likes of which had never been seen, and allowed people to settle into larger populations, creating the the first governments, religious centers, universities, and literature. It also allowed the first organized warfare, deadly plagues, and terrorism. Starting to see the other edge here? Just wait, there is more.

Due to the relatively short amount of time we have been consuming grains, 10,000 years is a blink in our millions of years on planet earth. This is where the problems occur. Due to our relatively short time from an evolutionary standpoint, our consumption of grains should not be so high. Most people are not well suited to it, there are exceptions, but they are not the norm. Some people even have severe reactions to many of the cereal grasses, being allergic to the protein gluten found in wheat, rye, barley and to a lesser extent in oats, called gluten-sensitive enteropathy, or celiac’s disease. Wheat tends to be the worst offender, with it’s very high concentration of gluten, that even if you don’t have celiac’s, can still be problematic for people at a sub-clinical level.

To continue this trend of problems, is that mainstream nutritionists encourage people to just eat more whole grains like 100% whole wheat products. Sounds like a good idea in theory, they are higher in fiber, higher in vitamins and minerals, and are absorbed more slowly. The problem is that we can’t absorb all of these vitamins and minerals. Whole grains contain anti-nutrients that are bound to the vitamins and minerals and severely limit their absorption. These anti-nutrients are things like phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid is the big one, and it is highly present in normal wheat foods.

Fortunately our ancestors found a solution to this problem. To reduce the phytic acid and lectin content, and free up the nutrients to be available for absorption can be done by soaking, fermenting or sprouting whole grains. Granted you can also consume starches that are low in those anti-nutrients like amaranth, quinoa, and sweet potatoes, but if you want to find a way to enjoy some wheat based products, it needs to have those preparation techniques. Unfortunately, gluten is able to survive all but the longest fermentation process, so people with celiac’s are still out of luck.

One company that is making foods prepared like this widely available is one called Food for Life. They sell several lines of sprouted grain products including Ezekiel, Genesis, and 7 Grain. The Ezekiel line is there biggest, offering up bread, english muffins, wraps, cereals, pasta, hamburger and hot dog buns and more. It is made up of wheat, other grains and legumes, and due to the fact that it contains those other foods, it is lower in gluten, is a complete protein and has a rock bottom GI of 36. It is also preservative free so you have to keep it frozen, a little FYI. I still suggest consuming more oats, quinoa, amaranth and sweet potatoes, but at least now you have a decent wheat option.

Posted on April 29th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


Impressive Progress & Bare Feet?

Filed under: Nutrition, Training, Weight Loss

For those of you who have been long time readers of my blog, you will know that I am pretty good friends with Kevin Larrabee, the host of the FitCast, one of the highest rated fitness podcasts. Kevin was one of the first people to do Warp Speed Fat Loss, and he had tremendous results from that program, losing close to 10lbs. He is back at it again with the help of the great Leigh Peele and her Fat Loss Troubleshoot.

Kevin has had tremendous progress, which you can follow along with right here, with the code name Destination: Abs. Leigh is one of the best at what she does, has helped hundreds of people get the bodies they want, and has one of the best programs on the market. So what do you have to lose?

Another interesting article brought to my attention by former CP client Gregg Taliercio about the lack of support for running shoes in keeping people healthy, whether cheap runners or loaded to the gills with the newest technology. One of the most interesting quotes from the article was this:

Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the danger zone.

The painful truth, especially hot on the heels of the Boston Marathon (nice work Steph and Aimee) is that long distance running beats the shit out of you. Long distance runners are usually either injured, or recovering from an injury, and it is a repetitive vicious cycle. And it appears, the shoe choices do not help.

In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.It was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years. Dr Richards was so stunned that a $20 billion industry seemed to be based on nothing but empty promises and wishful thinking that he issued the following challenge: ‘Is any running-shoe company prepared to claim that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk of suffering musculoskeletal running injuries? Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your distance running performance? If you are prepared to make these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?’

Dr Richards waited and even tried contacting the major shoe companies for their data. In response, he got silence.

It’s not really that big of a surprise is it? Big companies are about big business, telling people to run barefoot or for thousands of miles in old thin shoes is not conducive to big business. Having strong feet can go a very long way to keeping you ankles, knees and hips healthy. One of the reasons we have people do their warmups in their socks, along with all deadlift variations and box squat variations, helping people grip the floor and learn to use the intrinsic muscles of the feet.

Of course, the article had it’s share of duds:

Humans need aerobic exercise in order to stay healthy,’ says Lieberman. ‘If there’s any magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it’s to run.

If that isn’t a line of complete and utter bullshit, then I don’t know what is.

Posted on April 23rd, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


Chocolate: Good or Evil?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Everybody loves chocolate, especially my mom, so I decided today to clear up some confusion on the alleged and real health benefits one of the world’s most delicious foods, chocolate.

Now I love chocolate as much as the next person, but I have come to terms with the fact that not all chocolate is created equal. The health benefits of chocolate mainly depend on how much percentage of that chocolate is made up of cacao. On most dark chocolate wrappers a percentage will be shown, and this is the real key to knowing which chocolate is best. The only downfall to this is the higher the percentage, the better the health benefits, the more bitter it tastes. Always a catch.

Dark chocolate is chock full of health benefits, and with over 300 identified compounds, is certainly one of the most complex delicacies on the planet. One family of important compounds are flavanols, which can decrease blood clotting to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Another heart healthy benefit of dark chocolate is it’s ability to decrease blood pressure due to its ability to stimulate nitric oxide and its high magnesium content. Cacao also contains tryptophan, which stimulates serotonin production, the “happy” neurotransmitter. Lastly, it is also a good source of sulfur, which is responsible for healthy skin, hair and nails.

The problem is, the lower the percentage of raw cacao, the less of the wonderful elements there are, the less fiber and the more sugar and processed ingredients. These health benefits are found in raw cacao, and a lot of these health promoting substance are what make dark chocolate bitter. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and white chocolate do not qualify as health foods, missing out on compounds that their dark brethren are loaded with. One other catch is that all chocolate, including 100% raw cacao (my favorite) is high in fat, mainly the saturated kind. I have stated numerous times on my blog that while I don’t whole heartedly believe that saturated fat is a cause of heart disease, eaten to excess it can still cause issues. Fortunately the majority of the fatty acids in chocolate are either heart healthy or neutral, with only a third of them being anything to worry about. A few ounces per week is all you need to reap the benefits, anything more and you are just adding excess calories. There was a recent study that I looked at that is eluding me at the moment that I believe stated the actual amount was 1.5oz every other day to maximize the health benefits, anything more provided no greated benefit, just calories.

Most nutrition experts will recommend consuming dark chocolate that is 70% cacao, I take it a step further and like to see people over the 80% marker, more fiber, less sugar, more benefits. I personally use a great product from a company called Navitas Natural. It is shredded 100% raw cacao, that I put in yogurt and cottage cheese, it is awesome. 1 serving contains:

  • Calories   130
  • Fat           12g
  • Sat. Fat     7g
  • Carbs       10g
  • Fiber         9g
  • Protein      4g

Not too shabby at all. A big thanks to Danny for sharing that Navitas Naturals with me, and a shout out to EC for finally joining the club. Eric and his girlfriend Anna got engaged this past weekend, and I think his staff record deadlift is up for grabs with that newfound ball and chain he has to lift on every rep. Haha just kidding Eric. Sorta.

Posted on April 21st, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


Random Friday Thoughts

Filed under: General Health

Here is a little taste of awesomeness to have for the weekend. I spent all morning reading a book I’ve been meaning to get to since Christmas. Many of you know I love a lot of Jonny Bowden’s work, his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth was probably the single best thing I read in 2008, I recapped the best of the year here. Well this morning I read his book The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth.

Given the title, it seems like it would be a tree-huggin hippie-loving book full of voodoo and rain dances. I assure you, it is not. Jonny lays down the law about simple changes you can make to your diet (ie – stop eating processed food products) and simple things you can take to supplement your diet that are backed by sound research.

The most common items prescribed in this wonderful book are fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and probiotics, along with some more esoteric items added in. I will even definitely be making a few changes to my routine after reading this book. There were some really interesting facts that I had never heard before such as: 4 celery sticks per day has been shown to lower blood pressure, cherries can help relieve gout pain, saw palmetto for BPH and much more. It was fascinating and I would highly recommend it. Whether you suffer from acne, hot flashes or post-traumatic stress disorder, Bowden provides some fantastic advice that can help you overcome whatever problem you may have.

Even though there are a lot of supplement recommendations in that book that I would completely agree with, there are a lot of really crappy supplements out there. We recently had a client come in who had gotten a free package of a Muscle-Tech product in one of her orders. Needless to say, the item was awful. I am amazed at how much useless shit they squeezed into one product. To read more, Tony blogged about the actual product here. We need people to realize that supplements will make little to no difference in your results if you aren’t making good food choices and portion sizes. Supplements are not the answer, use them judiciously to enhance, not replace your diet.

Also of note, one of our minor baseball clients was recently featured on the Precision Nutrition blog. Shawn Haviland was a Harvard kid drafted by the A’s that I had the pleasure to work with this off-season. Shawn put in a ton of effort and really changed his nutrition, training, his body and his performance. I helped Shawn a lot with his nutrition and I give him credit, he stuck to it and got great results. He is a great guy and you can learn more about him on his blog.

I was a hyperlink fiend today and that is all I’ve got. Have a great weekend folks.

Posted on April 17th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

The Orange Juice Deception

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

A while back I wrote a blog about Why Fruit Juice Sucks, and today we are back with even more evidence to prove the truth of that statement. Orange juice is one of the most popular drinks in the country. Something like 40% of it is consumed in the Northeast, without a single orange grove for about 1000 miles. This alone should send off a few alarms, but the technology for shipping OJ is quite impressive, and actually doesn’t take all that long. So should we be worried?

An interesting article on with author Alissa Hamilton about her book Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice recently caught my attention. She explains many of the quirks and rather disturbing practices of the orange juice industry. In theory it seems like orange juice should be a simple and straightforward product right? It is merely the juice of an orange, nothing more nothing less, and more than 620 million gallons of this “natural” OJ are sold in the US per year. How natural and simple it seems, how completely deceived we are. The truth about OJ is that it is actually the result of real oranges, just not necessarily from Florida, combined with the ingenuity of chemists and their flavor packs to actually make it taste like juice after pasteurization and being held in storage tanks for upwards of a year.

Maybe not as pure and wholesome as we thought, eh?

Some of my favorite pieces from the article:

IDEAS: You write that the first question everyone asks when they hear about the book is whether orange juice is good for us. So – is orange juice good for us?

HAMILTON: I tell people if you like it, drink it, but not because you think it’s good for you. You’d be better off with a whole orange than a glass of orange juice. It has more fiber and more vitamin C. But I’m not a dietitian. The book is not about whether you should drink orange juice and whether it’s healthy. It’s about how little consumers know about how popular and – in the case of orange juice – seemingly straightforward foods are produced and the repercussions for agriculture.

After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma I couldn’t agree more. Our agricultural system is an absolute nightmare, and if people really knew where their food came from, and we have the right to, I think a lot of things about our food production would change.

Next is my favorite section, as it shows just how sneaky and honestly how deceptive the OJ industry is, which is really just a microcosm for the entire food industry as a whole.

IDEAS: What isn’t straightforward about orange juice?

HAMILTON: It’s a heavily processed product. It’s heavily engineered as well. In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn’t oxidize. Then it’s put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it’s ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time.

IDEAS: What goes into these flavor packs?

HAMILTON: They’re technically made from orange-derived substances, essence and oils. Flavor companies break down the essence and oils into individual chemicals and recombine them. I spoke to many people in the industry at Firmenich, different flavorists, and at Tropicana, and what you’re getting looks nothing like the original substance. To call it natural at this point is a real stretch.

IDEAS: Why isn’t orange flavor listed in the ingredients on the carton?

HAMILTON: The regulations were based on standards of identity for orange juice set in the 1960s. Technology at that time was not sophisticated at all . . . I don’t think the concern is so much “are these flavor packs unhealthy?” The bigger issue is the fact that having to add flavor packs shows the product is not as fresh and pure as marketed. The flavor industry can lend diversity to products that aren’t really that diverse. Soft drinks are a perfect example: They’re corn syrup and flavor. With orange juice, it’s masking the processing procedure rather than the diversity of ingredients.

I know I am putting quite a bit of the article in here, but I just couldn’t help myself, I found almost every question and answer to be interesting and important to the discussion at hand. The last bit:

IDEAS: To what degree is orange juice still made from Florida oranges?

HAMILTON: Most concentrate is now from Brazil. Shipping it is relatively easy. Until recently, you could count on [Tropicana] Pure Premium being from Florida, but shipping technology has advanced. Companies like Tropicana have started shipping full-strength juice from Brazil rather than buying and squeezing in Florida. The majority of not-from-concentrate is coming from Florida-squeezed oranges, but that’s certainly changing. The orange growing is moving to Brazil, which grows the most oranges for juice by far. Land is cheaper, and environmental regulations are almost nonexistent.


(cough) bullshit (cough)

This is scarily true, I looked at the OJ in our fridge, Tropicana Pure Premium, and wouldn’t you know it oranges from Florida and Brazil. I am tired of crap like this, why can’t we just get good quality products made with integrity, what is so hard about that? Don’t even get me started on what happens to the vitamin C content of the OJ after pasteurization and storage and shipping, a whole other can of worms.

On a good note, I found out that my mom has been reading my blog and she is looking for fresher food options. She walks every day and she passes a “farm”, it’s not really I just don’t know what else to call it, a family with some animals and a little land, and she bought a dozen freshly laid eggs from “the farmer” for 1 dollar. These chickens get to go outside every day, they eat their natural diet in the warm spring and summer, and these eggs aren’t being shipped for hundreds of miles and sitting for who knows how long before being consumed. Pretty exciting stuff in my world. And just for clarification, my family is from Maine, but we don’t live in the boonies where there are farms all over the place, we live in the second biggest city in the state (which isn’t saying much, but still), so it is nice to know that it is still possible to get eggs the old-fashioned way.

PS – Goi, you had a question on a recent blog post of mine which I accidentally deleted while getting rid of spam. If you read this, please repost and I will gladly answer. Sorry.

Posted on April 14th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


5 Helpful Nutrition Tips

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Continuing with the 5 Helpful Tips theme, this time we are rolling with some nutrition tips. These tips aren’t earth shattering and novel, but they are always important to keep in mind, whether you are a nutrition newbie or an experienced expert.

1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

The perimeter is where you find your produce, your fish and meat, eggs and dairy, etc. It is not where you find twinkies, chips, or donuts. Make quick ventures into the middle aisles to get other items like salsa, tuna, oats and flax. Sticking to the perimeter will also allow you to avoid buying stuff you don’t need just because it is on sale or is making some ridiculous health claim, you usually don’t get suckered by produce.

2. Buy things that don’t come in a box or plastic wrapper.

This could also be increased to only buy food that you can find or make in nature. If something comes in a box, has more than 5 ingredients, or has any ingredients you can’t pronounce, it probably isn’t good for you. Stick to real whole foods that you could hunt, gather, pluck or grow, and avoid the man made food products.

3. If a food makes a heath claim, it probably sucks.

A lot of food items make health claims like no trans fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, blah blah blah. In most cases if a food has to make a health claim for you to buy it, it probably sucks. Adding 20mg of omega-3′s to milk (like Horizon did, a crappy organic monopoly) is useless, but it allows them to make a claim based on legitimate research. If you are eating real, whole, unprocessed foods then you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not your butter contains plant sterols (which are controversial and have very little real evidence behind them).

4. Don’t live off coupons.

I know times are tough and people are looking for any way they can trim their budget, but cutting back on the items that nourish you and maintain your existence is probably not the best option. Neither is living off Ramen and Mac and Cheese. If you have room in your budget for that plasma flat screen, the HD cable package and Netflix, I think you need to reevaluate where you are spending your money. Our diet is related to our health in more ways than one, spending more time with your family and friends around the dinner table will more than make up for your loss of HBO.

5. Learn what real whole grains are.

Most people know the term whole grains, and they think they know what it is referring too. Unfortunately, the food industry has some other ideas, and fools people into purchasing crappy foods that are listed as being great sources of “whole grains”. For something to be really whole grain, it should be entirely whole grain, not just containing a small portion of whole grains. Real whole grain options are old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, amaranth, quinoa, wild rice and sprouted organic whole grain products (like Ezekiel). A great blog was written on this topic at the Precision Nutrition blog. To learn more about whole grains and more tips like this, check out Precision Nutrition.

These tips are just a small, but hopefully helpful addition to your arsenal of tools to make you a better shopper, and a better consumer of real, whole healthy foods. Good luck!

Posted on April 10th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


5 Helpful Training Tips

Filed under: Training

At Cressey Performance I get used to seeing people performing lifts quite well, and get used to teaching people proper training technique and execution without them already having developed bad habits. We do get adult clients though, who have been training on their own, and no matter how well they think they have trained, or how many articles on T-nation they have read, need work. It is infinitely worse when I venture into a commercial gym, where the stuff I see going on blows my mind. With all that said, here are 5 tips to (hopefully) improve your performance inside and outside of the gym.

1. Keep your arch.

When you do any type of deadlift variation, the most important thing you can do is not lose neutral spine. If your back rounds, you are either lifting too heavy, or you lack mobility in your ankles/hips/thoracic spine. For info on how to improve mobility, check out Magnificent Mobility by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson.

2. Keep your chest up and out.

When performing any rowing exercise, deadlift variations, squat variation, pushups, bench press, you name it, it works. Keeping your chest puffed out like a pea cock will allow your scapula to either stay depressed and retracted to keep them in the safest position, or allow you to pull them into this position. Do not let your chest cave and shoulders round forward, we do not want shrugging or your shoulder blades elevating and sliding forward. Specific example of a poor row.

3. Tuck your chin.

Cervical hyperextension will catch up to you. What you don’t want is to be looking straight up or straight down, you just want to give yourself a double chin to keep your cervical spine in line with the rest of your spine. To read more about this one, Eric wrote a good article about it here.

4. Lock out your hips.

At the top of squat, deadlift, and lunge variations it is important you finish that final range of motion by squeezing your glutes and getting your pelvis flat. This will help to ensure you are getting optimal glute development for back and knee health, and not being quad dominant. For a good example, Eric yet again comes through in this article here.

5. Deload.

Taking some time where you either go lighter, do less volume, rotate out a CNS intense movement, whatever it may be, and you will feel that much better for it. Taking a step back for a week will allow you to take two forward. You can’t make continual linear uninterruped progress forever, and your connective tissue and joints will thank you. To learn more, EC comes through again with his Art of the Deload e-book. Man, he pretty much has covered this all.

While not being a comprehensive list, putting these 5 tips into practice will greatly improve your training efficiency.

Posted on April 7th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


Pasteurization: Awesome or Complete Garbage?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Earlier this week I started my little series on dairy. Since then I have been working on a follow-up but it seems like something has always come up, but to make it up to you all I am going to give an epic post today.

In the previous post I mentioned pasteurization. Here we are going to discuss what it is, why it was started, and basically analyze the shit out of it. According to Wikipedia pastuerization

“is a process which slows microbial growth in foods. The process was named after its creator, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur. Pasteurization aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause disease (assuming the pasteurization product is refrigerated and consumed before its expiration date). Pasteurization typically uses temperatures below boiling since at temperatures above the boiling point for milk, casein micelles will irreversibly aggregate (or “curdle“). There are two main types of pasteurization used today: High Temperature/Short Time (HTST) and Extended Shelf Life (ESL) treatment. Ultra-high temperature (UHT or ultra-heat treated) is also used for milk treatment. In the HTST process, milk is forced between metal plates or through pipes heated on the outside by hot water, and is heated to 71.7 °C (161 °F) for 15-20 seconds. UHT processing holds the milk at a temperature of 138 °C (280 °F) for a fraction of a second. ESL milk has a microbial filtration step and lower temperatures than HTST. Milk simply labeled “pasteurization ” is usually treated with the HTST method, whereas milk labeled “ultra-pasteurization ” or simply “UHT” has been treated with the UHT method.

The HTST pasteurization standard was designed to achieve a 5-log reduction, killing 99.999% of the number of viable micro-organisms in milk. This is considered adequate for destroying almost all yeasts, mold, and common spoilage bacteria and also to ensure adequate destruction of common pathogenic heat-resistant organisms (including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis and Coxiella burnetii, which causes Q fever). HTST pasteurization processes must be designed so that the milk is heated evenly, and no part of the milk is subject to a shorter time or a lower temperature.”

This seems all well and good right? It destroys harmful bacteria, making contamination almost impossible. When Louis Pasteur came up with the process, our food production was terrible. The idea of sanitation was not known, the idea that germs caused illness was just being realized (because of Pasteur) and animals, like cows, were not brought up in pristine conditions. Milk from cows brought up in completely unsanitary conditions, being sick and unhealthy, but still having their milk sold was cause for some serious health problems. This was before the creation of the FDA or any other food regulatory system, and before The Jungle showcased to the nation how disgusting our food production was. Incidentally that book led to the creation of the FDA, but that is neither here nor there. It is completely logical to believe that pasteurization was a huge breakthrough, and a necessity at the time of its inception. At the time, pasteurized milk was safer than raw. The question is though, is that still the case today?

One example showcasing the dark side of pasteurization is this study right here. While I am not a believer in the idea that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease, I do believe that oxidized cholesterol poses a huge problem, and is a major factor in heart disease. One specific example of oxidized cholesterol is 7-Ketocholesterol, a dangerous byproduct that comes from the oxidation of cholesterol. 7-Ketocholesterol is linked to not only heart disease, but cancer as well. The following chart is from the given study showing how pasteurization causes the formation of this deadly product. The higher the temperature that the milk is exposed to, the higher the level of 7-ketocholesterol, and that microwaving milk and ultra pasteurization causes the greatest increase in this deadly byproduct. The left side shows the temperature and duration of the pasteurization process, the right side shows the amount of 7-ketocholesterol after the pasteurization was complete.

  • Raw cow’s milk                                                    None Detected
  • Milk Pasteurized at 85C for 16 sec.                        2.613e±0.806
  • Milk pasteurized at 95C for 5 min.                         11.733d±8.119
  • Milk pasteurized at 95C for 15 min.                       16.328c±1.717
  • Milk pasteurized at 85-90C for 2 min.                    3.142e±0.694
  • Milk boiled at 96C for 5min.                                   15.363c±1.922
  • Milk boiled in microwave oven at 95C for 5min.     50.029b±1.089
  • Milk heated at 140C for 4 sec (UHT)                      8.708de±1.399
  • Reconstituted milk powder (UHT)                          80.97a±1.232

That is some scary stuff right there, and certainly makes me wary of consuming pasteurized milk, and especially ultra pasteurized milk, not to mention using the microwave. I’m not presenting this data as a scare tactic, but just to inform people that just because the FDA or the dairy industry tells you pasteurization is better, it might just be better for their pockets, not necessarily for your health.

Onto homogenization. While I won’t go into as much detail on this one, I will give an overview. Homogenization is the process of preventing the cream and water in milk from separating. This is accomplished by forcing the milk at incredibly high pressure through small holes. This seems uncomplicated and fine, except that this causes the fat globules to be much smaller in size, and some may pass through the intestinal walls intact into the bloodstream. There are theories all over the place linking homogenization to heart disease, leaky gut syndrome, and actually being a big cause of dairy allergies. There isn’t a whole lot of proof about the dangers of homogenization, but the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, there wasn’t always proof about the dangers of trans-fat either.

In closing, I have slowly, very slowly, come around to the idea of certified organic raw milk as being the healthiest cow’s milk option. If you purchase from a local farm that pastures their cows and keeps their animals in excellent health, then in my opinion you have less to worry about from raw milk than the pasteurized, homogenized corn fed version at Stop n’ Shop. To learn more about raw milk and where you can get it, check it out here.

Posted on April 5th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre


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