Is Grass Fed Beef Better For You Than Grain Fed Beef?

All cows may be created equal but the meat that comes from those cows is not. There has been much discussion of late about the differences in grain and grass fed beef. While the initial differences are clear, some cows are fed only grass and some are fed grain, the health benefits and other differences are not as evident.

While grain and grass fed beef may look and even smell the same, there is a slight difference in the taste and there is a major difference in the health aspects.

“Grass-fed meat and grain-fed meat are two completely different foods.” – Bullet Proof Executive

Grass fed meat is not necessarily something that equates to luxury. Just because beef is grass fed does not mean it is expensive. Nutritious meat comes from nutritious food. In other words, a cow cannot produce nutritious beef if it is not fed the proper ingredients. Grain fed beef does not contain the same level of fatty acids and other properties that make beef a healthy choice.

Beef Burger

There are differences in the fatty acid composition between grain and grass fed beef. Grass fed cows receive nutrients that do not cause a lot of fat. This simply means that when you weigh it gram to gram, a grain fed cow is going to produce beef that has much more calories than a grass fed cow. Grass fed beef has less saturated and monounsaturated fat per serving and has up to five times more Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good overall health. Grass fed beef also has twice as much CLA or conjugated linoleic acid than grain fed beef. This particular fatty acid has been associated with many health benefits including lower overall body fat.

“Grass-fed beef may contain slightly less total fat than grain-fed beef, but a lot more Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, which are both very beneficial for health.” – Authority Nutrition

Studies that were done recently by California State University researchers in Chico examined thirty years’ worth of research into this discussion. They found that beef from cows that lived their lives in pastures, meaning that they ate only grass, was much friendlier toward diets that are low in saturated fats and higher in good fats. This study proves that grass fed beef is a bit better than grain fed.

“Grass-fed beef is lower in calories, contains more healthy omega-3 fats, more vitamins A and E, higher levels of antioxidants, and up to seven times the beta-carotene.” – CNN

There are skeptics however who claim that the entire discussion is overrated. Many feel that there really is no significant difference in the two and that the health benefits have been completely overblown. Even the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association feels that there is little difference in grain and grass fed beef. Research is ongoing into the debate about whether grass or grain fed beef is best and while it is better for the economy and the environment, many feel that grass fed beef is a bit overrated. Studies however, show otherwise.