Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed vs. Grass-Finished Beef + the Benefits
Have you heard the news? Red meat isn’t going to kill you after all! Well… maybe it’s not that black and white. It turns out, not all red meat is created equal. Read on if you’d like to learn about the different qualities of beef, the benefits, and where to buy it!
People talk about organic grass-fed beef as a much healthier option than grain-fed beef. Generally people reach for organic grass-fed beef over grain-fed because they want to reap the health benefits and want to support companies that don’t feed their cows GMO corn and soy feed.
What some people don’t know is that there is another step up from grass-fed beef, and that is grass-finished beef. Grass-finished beef means that a cow is fed grass its whole life (besides milk from its mother) and absolutely no grains. Other grass-fed cows are fed grass up until the last few months, when they are fed grains.
If you are choosing between the three, I prefer organic grass-fed AND finished, and here’s why:
- Twice the amount of CLAs-Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid that prevents cancer
- Higher in Vitamin A and E
- Lower in calories
- Does not support factory farms that feed their animals GMO corn/soy
- Better environment for the animals
- More optimal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3
- Lower in deuterium
One of the main benefits of consuming grass-finished beef is the fact that the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is 3:1, compared to grain-fed beef which is 10:1. You might be wondering why these ratios are so important. It turns out that Omega 6 is inflammatory and Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, so having less Omega 6’s in your diet is a good thing. In simplest terms, less inflammation = improved cognition and less aches/pains. Not to mention, the Standard American Diet is already way too high in Omega 6’s compared to the rest of the world, so why add to it?
Another point I want to emphasize is that deuterium levels are lower in grass-fed & finished beef. This is one of the most important aspects, since high deuterium levels are linked to higher rates of cancer, fatigue, and autoimmune diseases. Deuterium levels are naturally lower because of the cow’s diet: all grass, no grain. In simple terms, grass is lower in deuterium and when the cows eat it, they will be too. Grains like soy, corn, and wheat are high in deuterium and when the cows eat it, they will be too.
As you may already know, eating foods high in healthy fats, lower in carbohydrates, and consuming a high-quality source of protein (like organic, grass-fed/finished beef) are all great steps in keeping your deuterium levels low.
Aside from local sources, a couple of my favorite websites for high quality meats include https://belcampo.com/ and https://grasslandbeef.com. They ship all over the country, which makes obtaining high quality meat so much easier and accessible for everyone.