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Milk is a staple in most kitchens, but the kind you choose matters.
With the growing interest in grass-fed dairy and the benefits that come with it, grass-fed milk is becoming a popular choice for some.
Milk from grass-fed cows has higher levels of some important nutrients than regular cow’s milk. There are claims that it could also be more environmentally friendly.
This article compares grass-fed and conventional cow’s milk to see how they differ in terms of nutrition, health benefits, and environmental sustainability.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), grass milk is cow’s milk that comes from forage-fed cows. Lining includes: (1)
- Cabbage, such as collards, cauliflower, beets, kale
- Browse (young shoots and twigs)
- Cereals in their vegetative or pre-grain state
Grass-fed cattle need grazing during the growing season (1).
While conventional cows are typically grain-fed, grass-fed cows consume grass as their primary food source and cannot be fed grain or grain by-products. This diet can result in a healthier animal and a different milk composition compared to regular dairy products.
Research suggests that cows that eat grass produce milk and cheese with better flavor and creaminess than grain-fed cows ( 2Trusted Source ).
Although grass milk is marketed as such, US Grade Standards for dairy products are voluntary. This means that pasture milk does not have an official product label.
However, the American Grassfed Association has independently created its own standards (3).
The group advocates, promotes and supports American grass-fed and pasture-based farms and ranches, from farm to market.
Grass-fed milk is cow’s milk produced by cows that have been feed-fed. There is no official product label for grass-fed milk, but organizations like the American Grass-fed Association maintain independent standards.
Not always. Organic milk does not necessarily mean that the cows were exclusively grass-fed.
Organic dairy cattle feed on organically grown forage (including grass), hay or grain forage. They have more living space and access to pasture than regular dairy cows (4).
Organic dairy cattle that eat organic grain produce organic milk, but it is not grass-fed milk.
These cows are not given hormones or antibiotics because farmers are required to follow all organic farming protocols mandated by the USDA (4).
Organic milk does not necessarily have to be grass-fed, as the cows may have been grain-fed.
The calorie and fat content of each type of milk is comparable. The amounts of carbohydrates, protein and calcium are identical. This also applies to milk with different fat content.
Grass-fed milk has more sodium and cholesterol, while regular milk has more potassium.
Below is the nutritional information for one cup (240ml) of each type of milk:
The total fat content per cup is similar between grass-fed and conventional milk. The two differ in their fatty acid composition, which is the most significant difference.
Regular milk and organic milk contain comparable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, but grass-fed milk has more (7).
Switching cattle from a grain-based diet to a diet primarily based on grass and legume forage can significantly alter their fatty acid profile (7).
Diet in particular can change the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which has health implications.
According to a number of sources, humans have evolved towards a diet with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 1.
The Western diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in an imbalance of about 15:1. This is partly due to the overconsumption of highly processed foods and limited consumption of fish, as well as the addition of seed and vegetable oils in the Western diet (8).
Below are the reported omega-6 to omega-3 ratios for each milk type from a 3-year study of 1,163 milk samples:
Other studies support the idea that grass-fed milk contains higher levels of healthy fatty acids ( 9Trusted Source ).
Milk from grass-fed and grain-fed cattle is comparable in terms of calories, total fat, protein, and calcium content. However, grass-fed milk contains more fats called omega-3 fatty acids.
The higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed milk, as well as its balanced fatty acid profile, may help prevent diet-related chronic diseases (7, 8).
Omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory effects. They support brain and heart health and have been shown to reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome (10).
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio increases the risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and being overweight (11, 12).
According to one study, omega-3 fatty acids may support the immune system and exercise performance in athletes (10).
Athletes who consumed omega-3 fatty acids improved their recovery time, reduced their risk of disease, and demonstrated superior performance in competition. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids benefited from mood (10).
When grass-fed cattle are fed, health-promoting phytonutrients (antioxidants with healing and protective potential) are found in meat and milk.
In fact, pasture-fed cattle contain numerous phytonutrients in amounts comparable to those found in plant-based diets. Phytochemicals may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cardio-supportive properties (13).
The higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed milk fight inflammation and may help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids also have a positive impact on the immune system and exercise performance in athletes.
Grass-fed milk has higher production costs – partly because grass-fed farms have to maintain much more acreage to feed each cow.
Depending on the brand you choose, grass milk can be three times more expensive than regular milk.
For example, Horizon Organic’s grass-fed milk carton costs about 68 cents per 8 ounces, compared to 20 cents for the same amount of regular milk (14, fifteen).
Grass milk is more expensive than regular milk because the cows have to be raised on grass forage.
Consumers are increasingly looking for environmentally and ethically responsible food options (16).
Compared to conventionally reared cows, grass-fed cows have a more natural diet and appear to live in better conditions. They are free to forage for food as they are not constrained by limited space.
The grass-fed movement is based on an agricultural practice known as regenerative agriculture. It states that grazing livestock is essential for a healthy ecosystem, and that grass-fed cattle promote grass health and soil fertility — while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (17).
However, a grass-fed diet requires more grassland, which could exacerbate deforestation and biodiversity loss.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), deforestation releases billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Hundreds of thousands of animal and plant species die every year as a result (18).
Therefore, the sustainability of grass-fed milk is not easy.
One study examined four grass-fed and grain-fed beef production systems used by California ranchers. Researchers discovered that grass-fed production systems have higher global warming potential (GWPs) than grain-fed systems—but required less water (19).
Grass-fed cattle take longer to gain weight (and ultimately achieve lower slaughter weights) than grain-fed cattle. Therefore, it takes longer to farm them.
In addition, grass-fed cows produce more methane than grain and corn-fed cattle.
To keep up with current demand and production rates, it would take 30% more cattle to convert all beef produced in the United States to pasture systems. This switch would lead to an increase in total methane emissions of around 8% (20).
While grass-feeding can improve pasture health and reduce soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions, grass-fed cows also produce more methane and use more land, reducing biodiversity.
Grass-fed milk comes from cows that are feed-fed. It can also be organic or not.
Grass-fed and regular milk are comparable in calories and fat, with equal amounts of protein, carbohydrate, and calcium.
The main difference in the diet is that pasture-raised milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids than regular milk, which can help prevent diet-related chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
However, pasture milk is more expensive and requires more land for production, which has an impact on the environment.
In fact, grass-fed dairy has several animal welfare benefits. However, there is debate as to whether it supports environmental sustainability efforts.
For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News
For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.
RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.
- Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
- Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-373-3874.
- Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at TKleparski@parkland.edu or 217- 351-2206.
- The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.
STEVICK CENTER ACTIVITIES
Knit or crochet for those in need:
Meditative Movement with Yoga:
- 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.
- Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.
Card game 13:
- To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.
- 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.
HOT LUNCH PROGRAM
The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.
For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.
NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.
- BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.
- Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.
- Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.
- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.
- Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.
If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.
Contact Pam Jacobsen at email@example.com or 217-359-6500.
- RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.
Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.
The future of nutrition advice
By Lisa Drayer, CNN
(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”
The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.
That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.
How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.
Below is an edited version of our conversation.
CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?
dr Frank Hu: The idea of precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.
CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?
Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.
Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.
CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?
Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.
Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.
fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.
CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?
Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.
CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?
Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.
Another area of precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.
fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.
CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?
Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.
At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.
Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.
CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?
Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.
Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.
But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.
The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?
In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.
Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.
Nutritional value of bread
Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.
For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).
Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).
Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).
Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).
Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.
Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.
But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).
As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.
If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.
Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.
Nutritional value of peanut butter
Many people find peanut butter delicious.
Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.
Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).
Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).
For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).
Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).
When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.
When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.
Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!
When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.
Nutritional value of jelly
The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?
Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).
Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).
However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.
If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.
Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.
Guiding the way to thrive
Expert’s nutrition tips for runners
For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News
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