I make a habit of daily exercise. Most mornings, around 5 a.m., you can find me at my local YMCA chugging along – although a little slower than before. Some days I find a magazine to distract myself from the work at hand. This morning, I picked up the newest copy of SELF Magazine. About 10 pages into the March 2013 issue, I found the image and text copied below (this was actually pulled from the SELF website but is the same as the print version).
I, by chance, read the short bit of text and found myself confused and concerned by what the magazine was trying to say, despite what the evidence it cited actually said.
The magazine takes into question the nutritional value of beef from cattle that had been fed candy and cookies. It ignored the fact that nearly all forms of sugar are the same and provide the same energy and brought into question the quality of beef – providing false and misleading information for its readers.
Was This Your Dinner’s Dinner?
Does this weird you out or is it NBD? We’re listening@SELFmagazine.
*Source: Michael Van Amburgh, Ph.D., associate professor of Animal Science at Cornell University
Cattle owners finding new, and unique, food sources for their animals is not new news. Several major media sources talked to cattle owners last year when the drought hit corn fields and pastures, reducing the availability of traditional feed sources and spiking the price of what was still available. In true entrepreneurial spirit, farmers looked to other, non-traditional, feed sources to provide the nutrients their cattle need.
The article brings into question the nutritional value of the feed choices – citing the use of candy and cookies. The feed choices, while unusual, provides the same energy sources to cattle as traditional corn feed. And, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, all forms of sugar really are the same:
“High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn and can be found in numerous foods and beverages on grocery store shelves in the United States. High fructose corn syrup is composed of either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose, with the remaining sugars being primarily glucose and higher sugars. In terms of composition, high fructose corn syrup is nearly identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. Glucose is one of the simplest forms of sugar that serves as a building block for most carbohydrates. Fructose is a simple sugar commonly found in fruits and honey.”
(Source: Iowa Corn Growers Association http://www.iowacorn.org/en/corn_use_education/high_fructose_corn_syrup/)
Cattle, like people, metabolize all sugars the same and uses the food for energy and there is no scientific proof that a cow’s diet affects the nutritional value of the beef derived from the animal. In fact, the magazine takes editorial authority in assuming that a cow fed candy would produce less-nutritional beef. It is simply not true! An animal’s body composition is what determines the fat and nutritional content of the beef, not the feed supply. The candy provides sugar and energy the same as corn. Therefore, an animal feed gummie bears, for example, provides the same quality of beef as an animal feed traditional feed sources.
This blizzard provides a perfect example of why it is vitally important that we keep our animals healthy and well-fed. A healthy animal, and especially a healthy mother cow, will be able to weather the cold and wind. A skinny, unhealthy animal will not tolerate the conditions and will be more prone to sickness. That’s why we take great care to ensure our animal’s diets are balanced and provide all of the energy, protein and nutritional components the animals need. It’s all part of our business of raising health animals and producing quality beef.