Montana Public Radio

Grass-Fed, Whole-Fat Cows' Milk And Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Mar 24, 2019

The Food Guys, Greg Patent and Jon Jackson, discuss a 2013 New York Times article by Kenneth Chang titled "More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk." Chang writes: "Whole milk from organic dairies contains far more of some of the fatty acids that contribute to a healthy heart than conventional milk...Nonorganic cows that graze in pastures also produce milk with greater amounts of omega-3s." 

Chang's article continues: "The research was largely funded by Organic Valley, a farm cooperative that sells organic dairy products. But experts not connected with the study said the findings were credible — though they noted that the role of milk in a healthy diet and the influence of fatty acids in preventing or causing cardiovascular disease are far from settled."

Greg distinguishes between omega-6 fatty acids, which abound in the typical American diet, and omega-3s, the type discussed in the article. (Chang notes: "Conventional milk comes from cows that are mostly fed corn, which is high in omega-6s.")

"We're not talking about reducing omega-6 consumption at the expense of increasing omega-3s," Greg points out. "We're saying that the two types need to be in better balance."

"You need to keep your eyes open for opportunities to get these omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, whether it's from fish, nuts, eggs, meat - or organic or grass-fed whole-fat cows' milk," adds Jon.

Another idea from Greg and Jon: while many adults don't drink a lot of milk, they might consider replacing artificial creamers with whole, organic or grass-fed cows' milk.


(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 2/15/15 and 3/24/19. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)