Original Image by Sheila Sund via Flickr
Original Image by Sheila Sund via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Hormones.  When I think of hormones, sex hormones come to mind.  However, there are a lot more type of hormones than the mainstream progesterone and estrogen.  Have you ever thought of growth hormones in your food and drinks?

Sadly, there are still a lot of people that portray an act of disinterest in knowing what is in his or her food.  For those of us that not only want to know country of origin of production, I present to you more information on your everyday dairy products.  The controversy of the use of hormones goes as far back as the late 1930s.  Not much has changed in the food production world besides more awareness of what’s being put in the food.  Many companies in the food business world have not only stand by their “modified” products, but are not compliant with sharing the process of making American everyday products.

From a young age society has ingrained in us to drink our milk, to grow strong bones and teeth and for the vitamin D and calcium nutrients.  I remember dunking chocolate cookies in my milk (that’s the only way my mother got me to drink it), but what exactly is being consumed with the “milk” almost every American, who’s not lactose intolerant, has been exposed to?

Cornell University defines hormones as “chemicals that are produced naturally in the bodies of all animals, including humans. They are chemical messages released into the blood by hormone-producing organs that travel to and affect different parts of the body. Hormones may be produced in small amounts, but they control important body functions such as growth, development and reproduction.”

Since mankind’s exposure to the monetary benefits of using growth hormones in animals, we have gone a dangerous path of genetically modified organisms (GMO), animal cruelty as well as consumers unawareness of what they’re consuming.Unfortunately, a lot of the reason growth hormones were originally incorporated into animals for them to “grow” and put on more weight, decreasing the time one would have to wait for the animal to be ready to be slaughtered and quicker turnover of production.  One might wonder what kind of hormones I’m referring to.  In the diary industry, many cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH).  The hormone’s produced by cows’ pituitary gland, with an extra amino acid is attached.  The good news: the wholesomeness of milk is not impacted by the injection of these hormones.  Bad news: production of growth factors

The use of rbGH has already been banned in Europe and Canada, so why are American industries still using this hormone? It has been shown that injections increase milk production by 10-15% is it really worth the controversy to produce that increased amount of milk?  Have we come to a time where industries are that greedy for that extra 10% profit?

Impact of use of rbGH:

  • Increased production of insulin-dependent growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in stomach, which is associated with higher risk of colon and breast cancer
  • Cows have increased lameness, reproduction problems, and udder infection,mastitis–inflammation of  breast or udder
  • Cows often have shortened live span
  • Found in almost any dairy product–cheese, ice cream, milk
  • Increases sales for Monsanto, Corp., who were the first to start injecting cows
  • Causes increase use of antibiotics to treat ill cows–they can be develop antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Can cause additional preventable allergies

For one of my nutrition classes, I was required to watch Food,Inc.  If you haven’t seen it or you want a refresher course on the production on everyday foods, I highly recommend watching the movie.  It’ll definitely make you think twice what you’re “really” purchasing when buying foods.  Source: http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs37.hormones.cfm  Ben and Jerry’s proudly promotes their use of hormone free dairy products.  I’m glad their one of the leading industry businesses that haven’t been wrapped into the use of “fast production.”

Source: http://www.babycenter.com/0_bovine-growth-hormone-and-milk-what-you-need-to-know_12493.bc


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