After your child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, do you remember leaving the hospital with a piece of paper in your hand, on it descriptions of how many carbohydrates to give at each meal and snack time? Milk was among the recommended foods and counted in with the carbohydrates.

Today's supermarket is filled with different choices of milk. Some of the choices are organic, hormone-free, enriched, conventional and raw. One cup of any of these choices contains 12 carbohydrates. Only fat content differs among these choices, ranging from whole, 2 percent (reduced fat), 1 percent (low fat) to nonfat (skim) milk.

Pasteurized milk is heated (162 degrees) and quickly cooled, the process destroying microorganisms and bacteria. Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk is flash-sterilized (300 degrees) and packaged in shelf-stable aseptic cartons.

Raw milk is unpasteurized.

Homogenizing milk helps it stays smooth and creamy, not allowing the fat molecules to separate.

This is an upcoming study funded by, $1 million USDA grant, that will compare organic with conventional dairy cows by investigators from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Oregon State University and the Organic Centre in Oregon.

Organic vs. Conventional Foods By Kate Haisch 10/21/2008

"Many dairy farmers use the bovine growth hormone (bGH) to increase cattle weight as well as milk production. Though the FDA concluded that there are no risks to drinking milk from cows treated with this hormone, the issue is still being researched. bGH has been banned in Europe and Canada. Since there are so many dairies that don't use this hormone, we suggest buying from them if you can. Buy milk/milk products labeled organic or "rbGH free."

Brown Cow Yogurt doesn't use synthetic growth hormones and you will find right on the label "We think happy cow's make more milk anyway!"

rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) is a synthetic drug given to cows to boost milk production by as much as one gallon a day per cow. The FDA has deemed rbST safe. Interestingly, the use of rbST is illegal in many other countries. With the safety of rbST in question, I wanted to learn more about this drug and the extent of its use, because our family uses milk products every day. So I did some digging and this is what I found.

Organic milk, as the words imply, isn't treated with synthetic hormones or drugs. Milk from these cows has more antioxidants, vitamins, and higher levels of fatty acids than from conventional milk. I found a very informative website you could visit to gather more information.

Raw milk is unpasteurized. You can now buy raw milk and cheese in many states and demand is growing. The belief is it's tastier and healthier. Pasteurizing milk destroys beneficial bacteria, proteins, and enzymes.

Another option is to sign up for home delivery from a local farm. We have enjoyed this option for many years. It costs more (approximately $3 more per gallon) but the rich taste and creamy texture combined with the knowledge of what's in it makes it worth the premium.

Visit RealMilk.com for sources of raw dairy products near you.