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Interesting Facts about Grass-fed Beef

A cow’s diet can have a significant effect on the nutrient composition of its beef. Many studies have shown that the nutrients in beef vary depending on cows’ diet.

Most cattle today are fed grains. However, the animals eaten throughout evolution ate grass and roamed freely.

In the United States, where beef is mass-produced, cattle are usually fed grain. However, grass-fed beef is widely available in many other countries, like Australia.

The question is:

Does a cow’s diet affect your health?

This article examines the differences between grain-fed and grass-fed beef.

Photo By Zoomingfoto1712

The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle

Most cows in the United States live parallel lives.

The calves are birthed in the early spring, grow from their mothers’ milk, and are freed to roam and eat grass and other plants in their environment.

This lifestyle continues for at least seven months, after which the cows are moved to feedlots.

Large feedlots are known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The cows are housed in confined stalls at the CAFOs with minimal space.

The cows are then fed on a grain-based feed prepared from a soy or corn base. The cow diet is supplemented with some dried grass.

The cows are housed in these feedlots for months then taken to a slaughterhouse.

This is just a summary of very complicated and varied feeding practices.

For instance, Australian grass-fed beef may not be directly comparable to US beef, and grass-fed beef does not necessarily mean that the cattle were pasture-raised. In addition, it is essential to note that not all grass-fed cows can graze in the open.

The term grass-fed is vague.

However, grass-fed cows feed on grass, while grain-fed cows eat soy or corn-based diets later in life.

To encourage growth, the cows are treated with medications such as growth hormones and antibiotics.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

What the research says

It is important to note that grass-fed and grain-fed beef are concentrated in various nutrients.

Beef contains vitamins B12, B3, and B6. It is also rich in zinc, selenium, and iron. Studies have shown that meat contains every nutrient needed to survive (1).

It also contains high-quality protein and various lesser-known nutrients, such as creatine and carnosine, which are very important for your muscles and brain.

But even though the difference isn’t significant, grass-fed beef generally contains higher amounts of certain nutrients.

Compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed is much higher in the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin A. Grass-fed beef contains carotenoid precursors to vitamin A, such as beta carotene.
  • Vitamin E. This antioxidant sits in your cell membranes and protects them from oxidation (2).

Grass-fed beef also tends to be richer in other antioxidants (34).

There is a fascinating research project in place right now on grain-finished vs. grass-finished beef. The project isn’t done yet, but there is enough data to conclude that there is a significant difference between these two types of meat.

Of course, the only reason someone would grain-finish an animal is a cost — they can make more money off it. But what about the nutrient density of grain-finished and grass-finished beef?

Grain-fed beef has:

  • More inflammatory markers
  • Higher uric acid levels
  • Higher advanced glycated end products
  • Higher homocysteine levels
  • Higher amounts of niacinamide

Grass-fed beef has:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Higher amounts of niacin
  • High microbial diversity
  • High amounts of phytonutrients
  • Higher choline
  • Higher carnosine
  • Higher antitumor biomarker
  • Higher vitamin C level

Photo by Leon Ephraïm on Unsplash

Conclusion: Go with grass-fed

Hands down, grass-fed beef has more nutrients and better metabolic biomarkers — which measure the overall health of the muscle.

After this research is done, they need to do the next level of the study:

To determine if consuming a healthier animal product impacts a person’s health.

Keep in mind that something is better than nothing. If you can’t do grass-fed, grass-finished beef, it’s still good to get on the keto diet.

The most important thing is to keep your carbs low.

Do what you can and just realize that the benefits of doing a low-carb diet are tremendous compared to being very strict on superior quality.

If you can, the next phase to work up to would be increasing the quality of the foods you eat until you get to the point where you’re doing the healthy version of the ketogenic diet.

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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