Commercially Raised Beef: The Dangers Posed to Our Health
Americans eat more meat than any other population in the world, with the typical American eating over 60 pounds of beef a year.
By far the vast majority of meet is filled with harmful additives and is raised in such a way that it
Majority of consumers do not know where their prime ribs or hamburger meats come from. Where the animals live. How they were raised. What they ate. Were they healthy or diseased?
The red meat itself is not the problem, but rather is the source of the meat and the way that it is cooked. And some people can (and should) eat meat and others should avoid it.
As Dr. Mercola, a nutritionally oriented doctor put it, the key is
Unfortunately, most commercial meats usually come from grain-fed cattle that are chock full of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.
Another extremely important, and often overlooked, factor is the way the meat is prepared.
Charbroiling or barbecuing, for instance, can create cancer-causing substances in food, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which are potent cancer causing agents.
The formation of these substances, however, can be minimized by cooking burgers with vitamin E, cherries or blueberries added to the ground meat.
Another way to avoid carcinogenic agents is to simply minimally cook the meat. The extreme of course would be to not cook it at all.
A good cooking alternative is to use very low heat, about 200 degrees. This will take much longer to cook the meat, but it will likely cause far less health damage.
Of course, using microwave ovens should be avoided as much as possible.
Therefore, before you decide to bite into a fat, juicy piece of commercial steak, please consider carefully the following:
Most traditionally raised beef calves go from 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a period of about 14 months. This is no natural feat.
As the beef industry says, calves are fed or implanted with combination of various drugs and hormones – both natural and synthetic - to "promote efficient growth."
For instance, elengesterol acetate, may also be added to feed to "improve weight gain and feed efficiency."
Unfortunately, measurable amounts of hormones in commercially raised beef are transferred to humans, and some scientists believe that human consumption of estrogen from hormone-fed beef can result in
About nine million pounds of antibiotic feed additives are used annually in the cattle-raising process.
The largest use of antibiotics in the United States is to feed to animals, often so that they will gain more weight, but also to prevent disease outbreaks that could easily fester since the animals are raised in such crowded conditions.
This routine antibiotic use is contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans.
Along with antibiotics, traditionally raised cattle are given various vaccines and other drugs.
Some commercial beef is irradiated, which means it has been treated with gamma rays produced by the radioactive material, cobalt 60, or electricity to kill bacteria.
The effects of long-term consumption of irradiated food products remain to be seen.
Unfortunately, some school districts support irradiated food in school lunches.
As nearly all cattle are grain-fed (usually corn) before slaughter, most grain-fed beef has a high fat content ranging from 35-75 percent.
As opposed to grass-fed livestock, livestock that are fed on grain have also more omega-6 fat, which may promote heart disease, and less omega-3 fat, which is beneficial for cardiac health.
Many stores advertise beef as “grass-fed.” They do this as all cattle are grass-fed, but the key is what they are fed in the months prior to being processed (slaughtered).
In the United States alone, cattle production is a major source of environmental pollution. Among the most severe problems are
Inhumane Treatment of Cattle
As opposed to the animals raised in their natural environment and a green pasture, traditionally raised cattle are treated as commodities and are deprived of some of the most basic requirements of life:
PLEASE NOTE: High intake of meat, including beef, veal, pork, sausages and bologna, is being defined as
What About Fat?
Without any doubt fat is a macronutrient necessary for optimum health. The key lies in selecting the right source of fat, followed by the proper preparation. Blind dietary fat reduction can be harmful to our body.
Those, who cannot do without meat, face a challenging task. The reason is because during the commercialization process, the chemical structure of the macronutrients within the meat is altered significantly.
It is impractical to eat only the "good" and avoid all the "bad" fat, since most food comes with a combination of both. Balance is the key.
Concentrate your diet on mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil and saturated fats derived from free-range animals. (Mono-unsaturated fats are relatively neutral with a small tendency to raise HDL-"good" cholesterol and lower LDL-"bad" cholesterol).
Remember, chicken and fish, which often are low-fat choices, can be prepared (such as deep frying) so they are higher in fat than lean beef.
Once again, what you buy at the supermarket and how you cook the food makes the difference. If possible, always buy free-range beef, preferably organic.