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What Are the Pros and Cons of Homogenized Milk?

Homogenized milk has a longer shelf life but less flavor.
Homogenization makes the milk appear whiter.
Milk is often sold and bought by the gallon.
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  • Written By: Liz Thomas
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
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Homogenized milk refers to a type of milk that is treated to prevent the cream from separating away from the milk. Some of the positive aspects of homogenizing include a longer shelf life, more pleasant color, and lighter taste. It is also considered easier to digest than non-homogenized dairy products. The negatives of this version of milk include less flavor, possible hormone content, and the formation of possibly damaging free radicals. Homogenization also destroys many nutrients and beneficial organisms in the milk.

During the process of homogenization, in order to achieve a uniform fat content throughout the entire product, the milk is run through a series of small tubes. This causes the large fat molecules to break into smaller ones, which spread throughout the milk easier and will not form a layer on the top of the liquid.

The beneficial fat in milk is broken up when milk is homogenized, and smaller molecules of cholesterol and fat are generally believed to produce free radicals in the body. Free radicals are thought to be partially responsible for premature aging and can be damaging to the heart and organs, and they have also been found to cause rancidity. This problem can be prevented by pasteurizing the milk during or after the homogenization process.

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Homogenization also destroys proteins, vitamins, and bacteria considered good for the body. Most bacteria in diary products helps the digestive tract function properly. The vitamins in milk are important for bone development and strength, and milk must be fortified to make up for the loss.

When tasted side by side, homogenized milk is often considered blander than milk that is not homogenized. The process does create a creamier feel and taste, as the fat content is consistent throughout every mouthful. The consistent fat content also prevents unpleasant odors from forming.

Advantages of homogenization are most obvious when the pasteurization process is finished: it gets rid of the dead bacteria that is left. It also makes the milk whiter, which is often very appealing to the consumer.

Ultra-homogenized milk, or milk that is put through a high pressure version of homogenization, has a much longer shelf life than typical milk. It tends to last longer, while the nutrient levels and quality remain unchanged. Researchers have attributed this extension of life to the uniform size of the smaller fat globules.

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Discuss this Article

anon313813
Post 9

I bought a bottle of non homogenized milk, drank a couple cups last night and ate some of the cream from it too, and today I woke up with awful diarrhea and I feel terrible! Is this normal?

anon260629
Post 7

I bought the non homogenized bottle of milk today. I haven't tried it yet, but I will most likely continue to purchase it. I believe the more you process something, the more toxic it is for your body.

Our bodies are filled with bacteria. So why is there so much hype about the bacteria? In fact we want more in yogurt, but want to take it out of our milk? Hmm.

I hope it tastes good, but even if it doesn't, I will still likely continue to buy. Besides, why strip out any of the few vitamins we get out of our food? Funny how people worry nowadays, but back in the 50s before this process started, people drank it and never thought twice about it. Just something to think about.

I find it odd that it is actually higher priced than the homogenized version. It's a shorter process to make, but a higher price. Guess it is because of the shorter shelf life.

The person who asked if you can by non homogenized but still pasteurized, the answer is yes you can. That is what I bought!

anon256609
Post 6

Non homogenized milk is so good and healthy! I love it!

EdRick
Post 5

Women who have pumped breastmilk for a baby know what non-homogenized milk looks like. The fat rises to the top; I guess it's lighter or less dense than the rest of the milk.

Experienced pumpers can even tell whether a particular sample is fatty hindmilk or leaner, thirst-quenching foremilk. The fat then has to be swirled or stirred back in before stirring.

I've never tried raw milk or non-homogenized. Is all non-homogenized milk raw (i.e., not pasteurized)?

orangey03
Post 4

I grew up out in the country with a bunch of brothers, and we were raised on non-homogenized milk. We expect a creamy, fattening flavor in our milk, and anything else would be a disappointment.

I remember ordering a glass of milk from a restaurant once. The only kind they had was homogenized and reduced fat. It did not taste like milk at all. It tasted more like water, and it was so white that it looked artificial!

Though it would go bad rather quickly, we don’t have to worry about that around our house. It will be long gone before that has a chance to happen.

cloudel
Post 3

I actually prefer the light taste of homogenized milk. My boyfriend drinks non-homogenized milk, and he made me taste it. It was just too rich for me, and I kept thinking about all the bacteria in it.

I don’t enjoy milk by itself. I will never sit down with a glass of pure milk. I only use it in other things, and this is probably why I like it light.

I pour just a splash of milk in my coffee to counter the bitter taste. I eat my cereal with milk, but I don’t drink the milk at the bottom of the bowl when I’m done. I only use it to moisten the grains.

I will drink low fat chocolate milk by itself, but only the homogenized kind. It has a good flavor without being too creamy.

OeKc05
Post 2

That’s sad that homogenization gets rid of so many good elements of milk. I never knew that it had to be fortified afterward.

All this time that I have been drinking it, I thought it was doing wonderful things for my body. Maybe the added vitamins were, but the natural ones probably were removed.

However, I’m glad that the process gets rid of dead bacteria and makes the milk stay fresh longer. It takes me about two weeks to go through a gallon of milk by myself, and non-homogenized milk would likely go bad before I could finish it.

kylee07drg
Post 1

I suppose I have been drinking homogenized milk for years without even knowing it. I always buy the low fat kind with the most distant expiration date without considering other factors.

I guess I just thought that the fat was distributed evenly in all milk. I didn’t know it was even possible to have some swallows with more fat than others.

I have gotten used to the bland taste of my milk, so I will continue to buy it. It’s hard to change tastes once you have become accustomed to a certain thing having a specific flavor. I would probably hate non-homogenized milk now.

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