Switching to Grass-Fed Beef


From TARA PARKER-POPE
NYT

[Just another way to keep us healthier and the cattle we eat healthier. Note that the proposed Mendocino feed lot/slaughter would be fattening cattle before slaughter as well as far as I know. -RP]

What’s the nutritional difference between beef from animals raised on grass compared with animals fattened in feedlots?

New research from California State University in Chico breaks it down, reviewing three decades of research comparing the nutritional profiles of grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Over all, grass-fed beef comes out ahead, according to the report in the latest Nutrition Journal. Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. The study found that meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.

While the analysis is favorable to grass-fed beef, it’s not clear whether the nutritional differences in the two types of meat have any meaningful impact on human health. For instance, the levels of healthful omega-3s are still far lower than those found in fatty fish like salmon. And as the study authors note, consumers of grain-fed beef can increase their levels of healthful CLAs by eating slightly fattier cuts.

Grass-fed beef has a distinctly different and “grassy” flavor compared with feed-lot beef and also costs more. A recent comparison in The Village Voice cooked up one-pound grass-fed and grain-fed steaks. The grass-fed meat tasted better, according to the article, but at $26 a pound, also cost about three times more.

More at NYT
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See also Boosting Health With Local Food at NYT→

…and Grass-Fed Basics at EatWild→
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