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Monday, July 07, 2008

Top 10 Food Mistakes - #6

milk in glass//(© IPS Co., Ltd./Beateworks/Corbis)
Food Mistake #6: You drink fat-free milk to bone up on nutrients
But if you buy milk in glass or translucent containers, you may not be getting all the nutrients you should be. Although calcium in milk is relatively stable, vitamins A, B2, C, D, and E and amino acids all break down gradually when milk is exposed to light. Milk is especially susceptible because the riboflavin (vitamin B2) it contains acts as a photosensitizer, says Donald McMahon, PhD, an expert in dairy foods processing at Utah State University. In a study at Cornell University, levels of vitamin A fell as much as 32% when milk in plastic containers was exposed to fluorescent light for just 16 hours. Other studies have found that up to 60% of the riboflavin is lost under similar conditions. Light also oxidizes fat and diminishes the flavor of milk.

milk in carton//(© Burke/Triolo Productions /FoodPix/Jupiterimages)

Smarter Move
Buy milk in opaque containers, which eliminate as much light exposure as possible. "A container that blocks light will maintain vitamin A, riboflavin, and other nutrients in milk for about 10 days," says McMahon.

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