This article was written by John and myself and was featured in the “Guest Columnist” section of the August 22, 2009 edition of The Daily Advance.
We read Robert Kelly Goss’s article, “I am Not a Foodie”, from the August 5, 2009 Daily Advance with some interest. However, we found his assertions disconcerting. His claim, “it is now a known fact that it (milk) is laden with chemical growth hormones and antibiotics that leaches into your child’s body, changing your child’s chemistry and not for the best” is a concern. While he may enjoy organic milk, making unsubstantiated claims like that are in poor judgment. This type of sensationalism is what fuels the fears and misconceptions many people have about nutrition and our food supply.
As “Foodies”, or more correctly, Registered Dietitians, we have been trained with both B. S. and M. S. Degrees in Nutrition with courses including Anatomy & Physiology, Human Metabolism, Chemistry, Biology as well as Food Science. When claims such as Mr. Kelly-Goss’s are allowed to float with no response, it adds to the “fictional” sciences that some people follow. While I am sure you can find support for any position on the internet, we would hope that Mr. Kelly-Goss would have done more in-depth research on this topic, or at least spoken with a Registered/Licensed Nutrition Expert before sharing his fringe ideas with our community.
We have no problems with people choosing organics over conventional food. This is certainly a personal choice. However, we question the reasons for doing so. For example, there is no difference in the nutrient value of organic and conventional milk. Keep in mind, companies promoting organic consumption DO prosper when claims targeting conventional foods play on our fears. Unfortunately, the onus of proving or disproving such a claim seems to always fall on the conventional line of thinking. Look at the billions of dollars still being spent by consumers on “natural” supplements. Many tend to not question the claims they make for curing a multitude of illnesses yet question the validity or safety of our food supply. However, the claims made by many supplement manufacturers fail when held to a peer – reviewed research study.
A former college professor lived and taught by his mantra to, “think critically and analytically” when assessing ideas. That line of thinking would help many people find the true answers they are looking for when trying to improve their health. Unfortunately, critical thought and analysis were missing from the claims made in that article.
All milk, even organic milk, contains hormones. One main point that should be brought out from a physiological standpoint regarding the hormones is that the majority of these are amino acids, or proteins. If taken by the mouth, they are subjected to the contents in our gut. More specifically, they are digested by hydrochloric acid. Thus, these proteins are denatured by the power of hydrochloric acids that our stomachs produce. This denaturing will render the hormones ineffective in our bodies. A great example is that of insulin. Insulin is a growth hormone used to help regulate your blood sugar levels. In the body, insulin is created in the pancreas and delivered directly to the bloodstream. For people with diabetes that require insulin to control their blood sugars, it must be injected. Insulin taken by the mouth will become ineffective once it hits the acids in the stomach.
Another protection we have from the hormones given to cows is that many of them will be eliminated during pasteurization BEFORE reaching our milk supply. Pasteurization is an extremely effective means of killing bacteria and protecting our food supply.
It is a shame that we continue to look for magic bullets instead of taking simple steps to improve our health. Simply eating more fruits and vegetables would be a great start. Before you start to complain about the potential pesticide residue on your fruits, washing your fruits and vegetables with water will eliminate almost all of them. If you’re still not sure, add a little soap to the water and wash them like you would your hands!
Base your nutrition information on scientific evidence, which includes peer-reviewed articles and research studies. Use caution if getting nutrition information via the internet. The internet is full of scare tactics, speculations and pseudoscientific claims. Think critically and analytically about the sensationalized claims you may hear or read about. If you want to get educated about nutrition, look to Registered Dietitians. They are your source for the most reliable and science-based food and nutrition information.
It’s Your Health. It’s Your Life. Make That Change!
~ Angie & John