MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: Why is homogenized milk not as healthy as non-homogenized milk?

Date: Thu Aug 3 09:13:01 2000
Posted By: Phyllis Stumbo, Staff, Nutrition, University of Iowa
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 964541422.Bc

Homogenization does reduce fat particle size which is an advantage in using 
milk. With homogenization fat particle size is reduced which allows the fat 
particles to be evenly distributed throughout the milk and not rise to the 
top which requires milk to be shaken before it is served. These fat 
particles are not small enough to "pass through the walls of blood vessels" 
or any other tissue. Actually these are still whole fats(meaning that 
chemically there is a glycerol "backbone" and three fatty acids).

Triglycerides must be broken down even more to pass through the intestinal
wall. They are broken down by digestive enzymes into a di-glyceride (two 
fatty acids) and one single fatty acid before they are small enough to pass 
through the wall of the gastrointestinal track. Thus homogenizing milk 
actually makes the fat more digestible rather than causing a digestion 

Phyllis Stumbo, PhD, RD
Head Research Dietitian
University of Iowa Clinical Research Center
Iowa City, Iowa

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