Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed Beef
Some Excerpts taken from Mark’s Daily Apple
You have recently walked into Whole Foods or some other specialty store, only to see the signs that say 100% vegetarian diet, hormone free beef. You look at the price premium and ask yourself, “What’s the big deal with Grass Fed Beef?” The first big deal is the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content. As seen in some studies, CLA is believed to offer anti-cancer properties. It can also help decrease the risk of insulin resistance.
The key difference? A pastured diet results in a nearly 1:1 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. This is the ratio believed to characterize our hunter-gatherer ancestors (Dr. Courdain and Mark Sisson explore this often in their literature). What does a grain-fed ratio look like? Try 6:1. This ratio has been demonstrated to inflammation and precursors for chronic conditions (click on the link of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids above).
There’s also the E-Coli issue. With all the concern about food safety in the last decade or so (thank you Jack in the Box), one fact has been seriously overlooked: grass fed (and finished) beef is considerably less likely to be infected with E-Coli (abstract), particularly acid resistant E-Coli that cannot be effectively “disarmed by our digestive systems.
Love that marbleized rib-eye and wonder how they go so much fat into that cut…It’s worth noting that many cattle start off grass-fed early on in their lives but are nearly always switched to grain in the months before slaughter to fatten up to deliver that rib eye to your kitchen table. Most of the initial omega-3 stores and other nutritional benefits are lost during that time. Grass-fed and –finished are not synonymous.