Beef Bad for the Boys

Hey mom! Where’s the beef? Hopefully not on her plate because according to a new study women who eat a lot of beef while pregnant may give birth to sons who grow up to have low sperm counts. Good thing my mom has never eaten a lot of red meat. I have enough problems with women as it is. More form Reuters:
They believe pesticides, hormones or contaminants in cattle feed may be to blame. Chemicals can build up in the fat of animals that eat contaminated feed or grass, and cattle are routinely given hormones to boost their growth.


"In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.

Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
I have to admit, this report makes me a little nervous. Now every time I drive past a burger joint I’m afraid it’ll have the same effect as a cold swimming pool. Okay, all kidding aside, meat can be a rather troublesome food. And its not just beef, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman talks about some of the problems with chicken:
Chicken has about the same amount of cholesterol as beef, and the production of those potent cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2 Likewise, studies indicated that chicken is almost as dangerous as red meat for the heart. Regarding cholesterol, there is no advantage to eating lean white instead of lean red meat.3
1. Sinha, R., N. Rothman, E.D. Brown, et al. 1995. High concentration of the carcinogens 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo-[4,5] pyridine (PhIP) occur in chicken but are dependent on the cooking method. Cancer Res. 55 (20):4516-19.

2. Thomson, B. 1999. Heterocyclic amine levels in cooked meat and the implication for New Zealanders. Eur. J. Cancer Prev. 8 (3):201-06.

3. Davidson, M.H., D. Hunninghake, K.C. Maki, et al. 1999. Comparison of the effects of lean red meat vs. lean white meat on serum lipid levels among free-living person with hypercholesterolemia: a long-term, randomized clinical trial. Arch. Intern. Med. 159 (12): 1331-38.
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