I'll Have A Steak, Hold The Antibiotics Please

by John Diaz

As the USDA rushes to make changes to their food pyramid, many of us already have. Many Americans have taken up low carb or very low carb diets such as The Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet or even Atkins. Still others though not restricting carbohydrates eat a large amount of protein as well. With more and more evidence exhibiting that obesity, diabetes and heart disease have all increased with elevated carbohydrate intake it’s no surprise that consumers would alter their diet and animal protein consumption would fill the gap.

I too follow a 40/30/30 diet where carbohydrates make up 40% of my calories and fat and protein make up 30% each. Besides making me leaner my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are great, I feel I have less bloat or inflammation in my body and therefore less aches and there are no signs of diabetes or heart disease.

My Concern:

Toy Cow on fork - steroids, antibiotics, fat - Ultimate Health Personal Training Center

I do have a concern however, for myself and my clients and that’s the use of antibiotics and steroids in our food supply. Since the 1940’s meat and poultry producers have used antibiotics to keep herds from getting sick (due to overcrowding) and as a byproduct found that the antibiotics made the animals larger, a positive when you sell by the pound.  These antibiotics make their way into our bodies when we consume them which have led to a drug resistant bacteria problem. It’s hard to miss evening news stories these days of yet another drug resistant bug outbreak. The use of human antibiotics in our food supply is a leading cause. Some evidence actually exists that these food borne antibiotics may actually contribute to human weight gain and obesity.

Steroid use which is done for the sole purpose of making the animals larger I.e. more profitable, is possibly an even bigger concern. These steroids make their way into our system when we consume poultry, meat and dairy products. Though the USDA says that the levels are safe others believe it’s the cause or at least a factor in the dramatic rise of early onset puberty. Others believe it could be a factor in obesity, early ovulation, and certain cancers. The difficulty in proving these claims is that with better availability of nutrition and over consumption these same problems occur, making causation less certain.

Dairy in the form of milk, cheese and yogurt actually have the highest levels of added estrogens, testosterones, progesterones and corticosterols.  So, when we take into consideration high protein diets we are consuming an elevated amount of these compounds. Maybe it’s still sate, but maybe we should take some precautions.  

Go Organic

Not all organic is worth the extra money spent. For instance if you rarely eat red meat, eating it once a blue moon  would hardly warrant seeking out an organic cut. Another would be eating a fruit or vegetable that you don’t consume the skin from.  In the case of meat, poultry and dairy if you are a high consumer you might want to trade in some or all for organic choices. Organic will be antibiotic free, hormone free and the conditions are generally more humane. If the animal was less stressed it likely was healthier also, and less stress means lower cortisol levels.

There are many reasons to cut carbohydrate intake for better health, just don’t let a good thing become a bad thing. Sometimes regulation takes a while to catch up to science, just look at the lowly egg. Once blamed as the main culprit for high cholesterol it now enjoys a reprieve and is now back being a favorite healthy food.     


LiveStrong – Effects Of Using  Steroids  In Human Foods

CDC.gov – Antibiotic Use In Food Producing Animals

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Growth Promoting Antibiotics In Food Animal Production

fda.gov- Steroid Hormone Implants Used For Growth In Food-Producing Animals