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Worried About Hormones in Your Meat?
Published: 08/14/2013

An estimated two-thirds of the cattle raised in the U.S. are given hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, to help boost growth and production. Make minimizing your consumption of meats that have added growth hormones a priority: hormone residues in food may increase the risk of breast cancer and other reproductive system cancers among women, and may promote development of prostate cancer in men. 

Consider the following when shopping:

  1. Know which animals are likely to contain these unwanted hormones. Currently cattle and sheep are the only animals allowed to have growth hormones added. The USDA does not permit the use of hormones in hogs; chickens, turkeys and other fowl; or in venison.
  2. Read labels carefully. Look for the words "no hormones administered" on packaging, which indicates these chemicals were not used in raising the animals.
  3. It is even better to source meat from local sources that raise the animals using natural, organic methods – for example, seek out grass-fed and grass-finished beef.
  4. Use meat alternatives if hormone-free animal products are cost-prohibitive. You can substitute vegetable protein for meats (beans, legumes and mushrooms are hearty vegetarian options that work well as meat substitutes); or use faux meat, such as products made from whole soy (not soy protein isolate) that duplicate the texture and appearance of meats.
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