Lap-band surgery newsletter - February 2008
Lap-band dietary health...Not Corn Fed
One of the keys to obesity is the complex relationships with food and the body. Some of these are becoming increasingly clear - and simple to solve.
In this case -- we would urge patients to avoid corn-fed beef. Here is why:
There is an increased level of bacteria, hormones, and fat in corn fed beef. Corn is not what cattle normally eat. Cattle are meant to graze on grass, and for that they have a unique stomach that allows the grass to be broken down.
Cattle are not meant to eat corn
When fed corn, cattle's stomach becomes more prone to being colonized with bacteria, particularly the type of E. Coli that have been associated with the recent recalls of beef . Grass does not cause this to occur. Beef that is raised as they should be have less of an issue with super-infections from these and other harmful bacteria.
The majority of beef in this country is corn fed, and the reasons for this are because corn is cheap, abundant, and allows a cattle to come to the market in 12-14 months. While this is good for those who sell cattle, it is not good for the food supply. For cattle to be raised on corn instead of on the grass they normally eat the cows have to be given antibiotics in feed, feminizing hormones, and often protein that comes from other animal parts. The downside of that should be clear.
Mad Cow disease...corn fed cattle go to market sooner
"Mad cow" disease is frequently not manifested in a cow until later in life. Hence, cattle that is slaughtered earlier (as in corn fed, slaughtered at 12-14 months) may have the virus, and that virus will not have had a chance to manifest itself -- meaning the cow will go to market and the virus will go into your system. Cattle raised on grass take longer to grow to a size needed for slaughter (typically two to four years), and as a result, if they have become infected with the virus it is likely they will manifest this and the cow will be sacrificed before it reaches the market.
There is a clear increase in obesity in this country since corn -- in its various forms, have entered the food supply -- just think of corn syrup.
The effect of hormones in cattle
We do not know the impact of those hormones that the cattle are fed as they enter the human body, but a small amount of those hormones can cause an increase in the fat cells. So, while you think you are doing well eating protein, you may be consuming small quantities of hormones that will have a dramatic effect. For those who don't think hormones have such an effect ask any female who gained weight with pregnancy, menopause, or a hysterectomy. One of my patients who is from Nebraska noted that many of the men have become obese and developed breasts -- hmm, might be those hormones.
One other advantage of range fed cattle is that they have a better ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids than corn fed beef. In fact, the ratio is so much better in grass fed beef to a point where it is healthier to eat range fed cattle than farm-raised salmon.
"Organic beef," can be found at places like Sprouts, Whole Food Market, and some on-line places. Check these out carefully.