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    You Ask, I Answer: Pasteurization

    Is it true that orange juice loses some of its micronutrient value through pasteurization?

    If so, do these nutrients get added back into the juice following pasteurization?

    And lastly, if pasteurization does effect the nutrient content, what does that mean for milk?

    Please help me clear up this confusion.

    — Anonymous
    Via the blog

    Since pasteurization involves heat, some of the Vitamin C in orange juice — roughly fifteen to twenty percent — is lost in that process.

    It’s actually not a big deal, since 8 ounces of pasteurized orange juice still deliver more than a day’s worth of Vitamin C.

    Unlike the Enrichment Act of 1942 (which mandates that nutrients originally found in grain products and lost in the milling process be added back in), there is no such law for fruit juices.  It is up to each manufacturer to determine if they want to enrich or fortify their juice products.

    As you know, though, I am a proponent of opting for a whole fruit over a juice. Not only do you get slightly higher vitamin and mineral values — you also get more fiber!

    As far as milk is concerned, nutrient losses as a result of pasteurization (simply heating it at 161.5 Degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds) are not very significant.

    Since the B vitamins present in milk (riboflavin and niacin) are heat sensitive, there are some small losses.

    Again, though, it’s not cause for concern.  These vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods; it would take a VERY limited diet to be deficient in them.

    I do not think of pasteurization as a process that is majorly depriving us of nutrients.

    Many raw milk enthusiasts will spout off statistics about pasteurized milk offering less absorbable calcium, although I have yet to see any of this information published in any respectable journals.

    The research I have done states that we absorb approximately one third of calcium in milk — raw or pasteurized.

    If high-quality, “junk-free” milk is on your mind, I would be more concerned with getting it from non-hormone-treated, grass-fed cows rather than worry about pasteurization.

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