Organic milk refers to a number of milk products from livestock raised according to organic farming methods. In most jurisdictions, use of the term "organic" or equivalents like "bio" or "eco", on any product is regulated by food authorities. In general these regulations stipulate that livestock must be: allowed to graze, be fed an organically certified fodder or compound feed, not be treated with most drugs (including growth hormone), and in general must be treated humanely.
There are multiple obstacles to forming firm conclusions regarding possible safety or health benefits from consuming organic milk or conventional milk, including the lack of long term clinical studies.The studies that are available have come to conflicting conclusions with regard to absolute differences in nutrient content between organic and conventionally produced milk, such as protein or fatty acid content. The weight of available evidence does not support the position that there are any clinically relevant differences between organic and conventionally produced milk, in terms of nutrition or safety.
In general, all livestock used to produce organic milk must be maintained using the methods of organic farming as defined in the jurisdiction where the milk will be sold, and generally must be certified in order to be marketed as organic. In general, these laws require that livestock be allowed to graze on pasture, be fed organic certified feed (which may not include byproducts of animal slaughter), and that the animals not be treated with drugs (although it is also illegal to withhold necessary drugs from a sick animal in order to maintain that animal's organic status).
Studies have examined chemical differences in the composition of organic milk compared with conventional milk. These studies generally suffer from confounding variables, and are difficult to generalize due to differences in the tests that were done, the season of testing and brand of milk tested, and because the vagaries of agriculture affect the chemical composition of milk. Treatment of the foodstuffs after initial gathering (whether milk is pasteurized or raw), the length of time between milking and analysis, as well as conditions of transport and storage, also affect the chemical composition of a given batch.
A 2012 meta-analysis of the scientific literature did not find significant differences in the vitamin content of organic and conventional plant or animal products, and found that results varied from study to study. The authors found 4 studies on each of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol levels in milk; differences were heterogeneous and not significant. The authors found few studies on fatty acids in milk; all (but for one) were of raw milk, and suggest that raw organic milk may contain significantly more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and vaccenic acid than raw conventional milk. The authors found no significant differences between organic raw milk and conventional milk with respect to total protein, total fat, or 7 other vitamins and fatty acids tested.A different review concluded, "Results to date suggest that the nutritional content of organic milk is similar to that of conventional milk. There may be a different profile of fatty acids in organic milk, with a higher proportion of PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) relative to other fatty acids, but this effect does not appear to be consistent. This difference will be smaller in fat-reduced milk."
A less comprehensive review published in 2012 looking only at data from studies published from 2008 to 2011 found that organic dairy products contain significantly higher protein, total omega-3 fatty acid, and 5 other fatty acids, but less linoleic acid, oleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids than those of conventional produced milk. It also found that organic dairy products have significantly higher omega-3 to -6 ratio and Δ9-desaturase index than the conventional types.
A consumer concern that drives demand for organic food is the concern that conventional foods may contain residues of pesticides and chemicals. Many investigations of organic milk have not measured pesticide residues.One review of the literature concluded the "available evidence indicates that regular and organic milk contain similar trace levels of chemical and pesticide residues."
With respect to scientific knowledge of health and safety benefits from a diet of organic food, several factors limit our ability to say that there is any health benefit, or detriment, from such a diet. The 2012 meta-analysis noted that "there have been no long-term studies of health outcomes of populations consuming predominantly organic versus conventionally produced food controlling for socioeconomic factors; such studies would be expensive to conduct."A 2009 meta-analysis has noted that there have been very few studies that have looked at direct human health outcomes. In addition, as discussed above, difficulties in accurately and meaningfully measuring chemical differences between organic and conventional milk make it difficult to extrapolate health recommendations based solely on chemical analysis.
The authors of the 2012 meta-analysis ultimately concluded that the review "(...) identified limited evidence for the superiority of organic foods. The evidence does not suggest marked health benefits from consuming organic versus conventional foods, (...)".
A review of the literature published by the American Academy of Pediatrics published in 2012 concluded: "There is no evidence of clinically relevant differences in organic and conventional milk. There are few, if any, nutritional differences between organic and conventional milk. There is no evidence that any differences that may exist are clinically relevant. There is no evidence that organic milk has clinically significant higher bacterial contamination levels than does conventional milk. There is no evidence that conventional milk contains significantly increased amounts of bovine growth hormone. Any bovine GH that might remain in conventional milk is not biologically active in humans because of structural differences and susceptibility to digestion in the stomach."
One review noted that some consumers like the taste of organic milk, while others do not, and suggested that the amount of heat treatment is likely to be a significant factor in determining the taste of the milk. Certain treatments, such as ultra-heat treatments used by milk producers, can impart a slight nutty taste to the milk. Overall, the results of taste testing "are not clear-cut" as to whether organic or conventional milk is preferred.
Compared to conventional milk farms, organic milk farms produce significantly less milk per cow and cost more to operate.Organic dairy co-ops have been a successful economic survival strategy for small to medium-sized producers in the American midwest. Organic milk accounts for 18% of milk sales in the US and was worth $2.5 billion in 2016.
In nutrition, biology, and chemistry, fat usually means any ester of fatty acids, or a mixture of such compounds; most commonly those that occur in living beings or in food.
Omega−3 fatty acids, also called Omega-3 oils, ω−3 fatty acids or n−3 fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) characterized by the presence of a double bond three atoms away from the terminal methyl group in their chemical structure. They are widely distributed in nature, being important constituents of animal lipid metabolism, and they play an important role in the human diet and in human physiology. The three types of omega−3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant oils, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both commonly found in marine oils. Marine algae and phytoplankton are primary sources of omega−3 fatty acids. Common sources of plant oils containing ALA include walnut, edible seeds, clary sage seed oil, algal oil, flaxseed oil, Sacha Inchi oil, Echium oil, and hemp oil, while sources of animal omega−3 fatty acids EPA and DHA include fish, fish oils, eggs from chickens, squid oils and krill oil.
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.
A dietary supplement is a manufactured product intended to supplement one's diet by taking a pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid. A supplement can provide nutrients either extracted from food sources or that are synthetic in order to increase the quantity of their consumption. The class of nutrient compounds includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and amino acids. Dietary supplements can also contain substances that have not been confirmed as being essential to life, but are marketed as having a beneficial biological effect, such as plant pigments or polyphenols. Animals can also be a source of supplement ingredients, such as collagen from chickens or fish for example. These are also sold individually and in combination, and may be combined with nutrient ingredients. In the United States and Canada, dietary supplements are considered a subset of foods, and are regulated accordingly. The European Commission has also established harmonized rules to help insure that food supplements are safe and properly labeled.
Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them.
A food pyramid is a representation of the optimal number of servings to be eaten each day from each of the basic food groups. The first pyramid was published in Sweden in 1974. The 1992 pyramid introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was called the "Food Guide Pyramid" or "Eating Right Pyramid". It was updated in 2005 to "MyPyramid", and then it was replaced by "MyPlate" in 2011.
A saturated fat is a type of fat in which the fatty acid chains have all or predominantly single bonds. A fat is made of two kinds of smaller molecules: glycerol and fatty acids. Fats are made of long chains of carbon (C) atoms. Some carbon atoms are linked by single bonds (-C-C-) and others are linked by double bonds (-C=C-). Double bonds can react with hydrogen to form single bonds. They are called saturated because the second bond is broken and each half of the bond is attached to a hydrogen atom.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of Spain, Italy, and Greece in the 1960s. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products, moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of non-fish meat products. Olive oil has been studied as a potential health factor for reducing all-cause mortality and the risk of chronic diseases.
Bovine somatotropin or bovine somatotrophin, or bovine growth hormone (BGH), is a peptide hormone produced by cows' pituitary glands.
The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), co-founded in 1999 by Sally Fallon (Morell) and nutritionist Mary G. Enig, is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to "restoring nutrient-dense foods to the American diet through education, research and activism".
Omega-6 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids that have in common a final carbon-carbon double bond in the n-6 position, that is, the sixth bond, counting from the methyl end.
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body and improve hypertriglyceridemia. There has been a great deal of controversy in recent years about the role of fish oil in cardiovascular disease, with recent meta-analyses reaching different conclusions about its potential impact. The most promising evidence supports supplementation for prevention of cardiac death.
Vegetarian nutrition is the set of health-related challenges and advantages of vegetarian diets.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. In physiological literature, it is given the name 22:6(n-3). It can be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid or obtained directly from maternal milk, fish oil, or algae oil.
Caprylic acid (from the Latin word capra, meaning "goat"), also known under the systematic name octanoic acid, is a saturated fatty acid and carboxylic acid with the structural formula CH3(CH2)6CO2H. It is a colorless oily liquid that is minimally soluble in water with a slightly unpleasant rancid-like smell and taste. Salts and esters of octanoic acid are known as octanoates or caprylates. It is a common industrial chemical, which is produced by oxidation of the C8 aldehyde. Its compounds are found naturally in the milk of various mammals and as a minor constituent of coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products. Organic foods typically are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.
Vegan nutrition refers to the nutritional and human health aspects of vegan diets. A well-planned, balanced vegan diet is suitable to meet all recommendations for nutrients in every stage of human life. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals; and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Preliminary evidence from epidemiological research indicates that a vegan diet may lower the risk of cancer.
Charles M. "Chuck" Benbrook is an American agricultural economist and former research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, a position to which he was appointed in 2012. At the CSANR, he directed the "Measure to Manage" program. Benbrook was also the scientific advisor for the Oregon-based nonprofit organization "Organic Center" from 2004 to June 2012. As of September 2015, Benbrook was no longer on the faculty of Washington State University.
The acid-ash hypothesis is a medical hypothesis which suggests that excessively acidic diets may result in a number of identifiable health effects, including an increased risk of osteoporosis. It has received some attention in the lay community, and has been used to support the diet known as the Alkaline diet. According to the hypothesis, acid ash is produced by meat, poultry, cheese, fish, eggs, and grains. Alkaline ash is produced by fruits and vegetables, except cranberries, prunes and plums. Since the acid or alkaline ash designation is based on the residue left on combustion rather than the acidity of the food, foods such as citrus fruits that are generally considered acidic are actually considered alkaline producing in this diet.
Like the human practice of veganism, vegan dog foods are those formulated with the exclusion of ingredients that contain or were processed with any part of an animal, or any animal byproduct. Vegan dog food may incorporate the use of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts, vegetable oils, and soya, as well as any other non-animal based foods. The omnivorous domestic canine has evolved to metabolize carbohydrates and thrive on a diet lower in protein, and therefore, a vegan diet is nutritionally adequate for dogs if properly formulated and balanced. Dogs can also thrive on a vegetarian diet.