Grass Fed Beef vs. Grain Fed Beef – Which is Healthier?

October 3, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Grass-fed beef vs. grain-fed beef: which is healthier for you, and why?

Beef consumption (much like eggs) has gotten a real bad wrap throughout the years. It’s been touted as unhealthy and even unethical by some. But thanks to the organic movement and the cropping up of CSAs and farmer’s markets, peoples’ opinions are starting to change.

For one, not all beef is created equal. In a nutshell you have cows that are mass-produced in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). Then, you have cows that are pasture raised on farms.

The former are typically crammed together and forced to live in unsanitary and cruel conditions. They are fed grains and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Their consumption (in my opinion) is indeed unethical because it keeps this practice going.

In contrast, the latter live out their lives in a natural state while eating their natural diet. This not only benefits the cow, but ultimately you, as you’ll soon read.

Now, common sense dictates that taking an animal, feeding it foods it wasn’t meant to eat, giving it hormones so it grows faster, and antibiotics so it doesn’t die before it hits the supermarket shelves, would indeed be bad for your health. But common sense is not so common, especially when there’s a massive (and highly profitably) industry out to confuse you.

With that said, here’s my attempt to clear up the confusion…

When you eat grass-fed beef you’re avoiding the hormones and antibiotics you’d typically consume while eating grain-fed beef. Obviously that’s a good thing. But aside from that major benefit, there’s another biggie: a more favorable fatty-acid profile.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, no doubt you’ve heard of omega-3’s and how heart healthy they are. Furthermore, you’re probably aware that they’re abundant in fish. But did you know that grass-fed beef is packed with them as well?

What’s more is that its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is around 1:3 (while in grain fed beef it’s more like 1:27). Now, why is this important? Simple: you want your diet to have an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is around 1:20. This makes it pro-inflammatory, which leads to heart disease, cancer, and other chronic ailments of modern society.

Given that, it would be seem obvious that choosing grass-fed beef over grain-fed beef is a no-brainer. There is a caveat, however: its cost. In fact, it can be prohibitively expensive oftentimes costing 2 or 3 times the price of conventional beef.

But you know what? It’s worth it. Cut out some expenses from somewhere else if you have to. This is your body after all – the most valuable thing you’ll ever own. So treat it like gold and feed it the good stuff!

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