Eating for Health

Published on December 11th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan


Organic Milk vs Regular Milk: Which Is Better?

organic milk vs regular milk

A new study has shown definitively that organic milk is better for you than regular milk.

Scientists at Washington State University, Newcastle University (United Kingdom) and Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative have completed the first large-scale, U.S. milk-fat composition survey comparing milk from organic and conventional farms.

Organic Milk vs Regular Milk

The new study was conducted in response to a disturbing health trend in the United States. In the last one hundred years there has been a dramatic rise in consumption of omega-6 (aka. “bad”) fatty acids in Western diets, while omega-3 (aka. “good”) fatty acid consumption has fallen. It is generally agreed that too much omega-6 is bad  and that the resulting omega-6/omega-3 consumption ratios “have risen to nutritionally undesirable levels.”

According to study by The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington, DC, western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved:

Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids  and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects … A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is more desirable in reducing the risk of many of the chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies, as well as in the developing countries, that are being exported to the rest of the world.

The milk study found that organic milk contained 25% less ω-6 fatty acids and 62% more ω-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, yielding a 2.5-fold higher ω-6/ω-3 ratio in conventional compared to organic milk. The general idea is that organic milk comes from cows that eat grass and vegetables compared to conventional milk cows which primarily eat grains. Michele Jacobson, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, points out that “in order to obtain these omega 3′s it’s essential to drink whole fat milk; that’s where the omega 3′s are.”

It is believed that milk from cows consuming significant amounts of grass and legume-based forages contains less LA and other ω-6 FAs and higher concentrations of ALA, CLA, and the long-chain ω-3s EPA and DPA, compared to cows lacking routine access to pasture and fed substantial quantities of grains. In most countries, lactating cows on organically managed farms receive a significant portion of daily DMI from pasture and conserved, forage-based feeds, while cows on conventional farms receive much less.

The authors point out that in the most recent U.S. government dairy sector survey, only 22% of cows had access to pasture, and for most of these, access was very limited.

The study concluded that:

… consumers have viable options to reduce average omega-6/omega-3 intake ratios, thereby reducing or eliminating probable risk factors for a wide range of developmental and chronic health problems.


Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: ,

About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

2 Responses to Organic Milk vs Regular Milk: Which Is Better?

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    Please point out to your readers that in order to obtain these omega 3’s it’s essential to drink whole fat milk; that’s where the omega 3’s are.
    Michele Jacobson

  2. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

Back to Top ↑
  • Support our Site!

  • Advertisement

  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisement

  • Popular Posts & Pages

    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Top Sustainable Food Jobs of the Week.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisement

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.