Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hormones get a bad rap

There is increasing concern about the hormones in our meat and milk as consumers think they want hormone-free everything.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about hormones in our food supply, some of it perpetuated by our own industries, e.g. livestock producers who advertise their products as being "hormone-free" (not possible!).

Animal products contain estrogens while many plant-based products contain phytoestrogens. Sheep and goats that consume forages that contain phytoestrogens may suffer impaired reproduction.

Hormones levels are measured in nanograms (ng). Three ounces of beef from an animal that has never been given estrogen-based hormones (implants) contains 1.39 ng of estrogen, while the same amount of conventionally-produced beef (given two doses of estrogen-based hormones) contains 1.89 ng of estrogen. The differences are basically insignificant.

Three ounces of milk from a cow given bovine somatotropin (growth hormone) contains 11 ng of estrogen, the same amount as the milk from a non-treated cow. Hormone levels in meat and milk are considerally lower than some plant-based food sources.

While three ounces of cow's milk contains 11 ng of estrogen, the average soy latte (one cup of soy milk) contains 30,000 ng of estrogen. 3.5 ounces of soy protein concentrate contains 102,000 ng of estrogen. Four ounces of raw cabbage contains 2,700 ng of estrogen.

Anything hormone-free is not alive! Even kissing sparks an increase of hormones through the brain.

Source: Feedstuffs, February 23, 2009