The lowdown: While raw milk comes from a cow, it’s not pasteurized. Advocates believe pasteurization destroys potentially beneficial bacteria, proteins, and enzymes that may aid digestion. But health experts say that none of these supposed benefits outweigh the possible negatives. “Drinking raw milk puts you at risk of serious food-borne illness or even death from infection,” says J. Bruce German, Ph.D., the director of the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California, Davis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, raw dairy products caused 82 percent of milk-borne illnesses between 1973 and 2008. It is not available for purchase in some states.
Good to know: Raw whole milk contains more calories and fat than pasteurized whole milk.