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Understand the Label: Meat Treated With or Without Hormones

Apr 29, 2014 1:21:00 PM

Consumers looking to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle should focus on choosing foods that are free of additives and other harmful adulterants. When it comes to purchasing animal products, such as meat and dairy, it's important to understand the terms that are listed on the food's labels and packaging in order to make the most healthy choices. Two specific terms that consumers should be on the look out for are "No Antibiotics" and "No Hormones." 

The Use Of Hormones & Antibiotics In Factory Produced Animal Products

An estimated 80% of livestock raised for human consumption has been treated with either natural or artificial hormones. These hormones are commonly injected into cattle in order to speed growth, enlarge muscle size and enhance milk production.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are commonly used in livestock to prevent the spread of disease throughout a herd. These factory farms feed cheap grains like corn to cattle that are not biologically designed to digest it naturally. As a result, and due to the confined nature of factory farms, these animals get sick more often, and thus increase the use of antibiotics.

The benefits are heavily outweighed by the consequences and risks that can arise from consuming antibiotic and hormone-treated animal products.

The Harmful Effects Of Hormones & Antibiotics In Meat and Dairy Products

Hormones that are commonly used in cattle include HGH, rBGH and IGF-1 which have all been linked to an array of health hazards in humans. Scientific studies have shown that the consumption of hormone-treated meat can heighten the risk of breast, colon, testis and hormonal cancer in humans by up to 60%. Fortunately, restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A, Carl's Jr. and Chipotle Mexican Grill have taken a strong stand against the use of hormones. 

The debate of antibiotics in animal products has been going on for over 35 years. Not only are these animals injected with antibiotics, it is also commonly added to their feed. Because of this practice, many researchers conclude that antibiotic use in livestock plays an important role in the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as E-Coli, a potentially life threatening concern to humans. When eating out at restaurants, consumers should consider visiting restaurants such as Bon Appétit, Panera Bread and Dairy Queen who refuse to sell any meat products that are laced with antibiotics.

Meat and dairy products that have been treated with antibiotics and hormones are now banned in the UK as well as many other countries. These staggering facts alone should encourage meat and dairy eaters to choose animal products that have been clearly labeled with "No Hormones" and "No Antibiotics" call outs. 

The Benefits Of Purchasing Hormone Free Foods

Animal products made from cattle that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics offer many health benefits to both the animals and the consumer. For one, sustainable meat products are made from animals that have enjoyed a healthier and more natural life. When compared to factory-raised meats, animals that are free of hormones and antibiotics offer consumers enhanced nutritional benefits that include higher levels of vitamin E, beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids.

It's important for consumers to be aware of the importance of "No Antibiotics" and "No Hormones" on packaging and labels when purchasing meat products. Most consumers will agree that sustainable raised meats have a better taste and richness that's not found in factory produced meats. In order to reduce health risks, and enjoy a healthier product, consumers should look for products that are produced from animals that were raised in sustainable and healthy living conditions.

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