In the final part to our grass vs grain series, we will explain the last four reasons for why grass-fed trumps grain-fed. Here’s an overview of the ten reasons as a reminder:
- Lower in total fat
- Higher in beta-carotene
- Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
- Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
- Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Higher in total omega-3s
- A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
- Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
- Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
- Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
7. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-6, like Omega-3 is an essential fatty-acid. This means that we can’t manufacture them on our own, so we need to get them from our diet. However, although omega-6 fatty acids are essential for health, the amount consumed by most Americans increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oils are very rich in omega-6. (Olive oil is low in omega- 6 fatty acid which explains why it is better for you.)
Few people realize that grain-fed animals are also a major source of omega-6s. Meat and dairy products from animals fed a high-grain diet, which is the typical feedlot diet, have up to ten times more omega-6s than products from animals raised on their natural diet of pasture. Recent experiments determined that if the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. This is especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1!! Similar ratios are also found in all grain-fed vs grass-fed livestock products. When a cow grazes on natural grass pastures, its body composition is affected accordingly: the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is slightly above two. In other words, two parts omega-6 to one part omega-3, which is very close to the ideal ratio between these two fats.
8. Higher in CLA
Grass-fed meat is a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which in easier terms is essentially a “good fat” that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders. It has also been called the ‘cancer fighting fat’.
Food products from grass-fed animals (e.g. mutton and beef) are good sources of CLA, and contain much more of it than those from grain-fed animals. In fact, meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals can produce 300-500% more CLA than those of cattle fed the usual diet of 50% hay and silage, and 50% grain.
9. Higher in vaccenic acid
Vaccenic acid is an Omega-7 fatty acid that naturally occurs and can be found in the fat of ruminants. (For those who don’t know, a ruminant is a mammal that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the first compartment of its’ stomach, mainly through bacterial actions, and then regurgitating the semi-digested mass –more commonly called ‘cud’ and chewing it again. The process of re-chewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called “ruminating”). These mammals then convert the vaccenic acid into CLA, of which we now know the benefits.
10. Lower in saturated fats linked to heart disease
Like all fats, saturated fats are a source of fuel for the body, aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and in some cases are used to build cell membranes, and hold other purposes. The human body can make all the saturated fat it needs. Fats in food are always a mix of different types of fatty acids, so when we say “saturated fat”, we really mean the saturated fatty acids in the particular fat source.
Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fats such as cream, cheese, butter and fatty meats (which are more typically from grain-fed animals, as grass-fed animals are a lot leaner and have a lot less fat)
If the explanation is still confusing you then the important thing to remember is this; foods that contain saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, it is important to note that many foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol – which raises your blood cholesterol even higher.
This brings us to the end of this our on-going article on the benefits of grass-fed vs grain-fed. We find that often we are told that one thing is better than another, but the explanation given to us can leave us feeling more confused. We hope that we managed to explain the ten reasons for why grass trumps grain in a way that everyone can understand, because before you buy our beef (which we are positive you will do after reading this), we want you to know exactly why it is so much better than other beef.
Now all you have to do is visit our shop and place your order