A couple weeks ago, during a meeting at work, a co-worker told me he had been buying grass-fed beef lately because “it’s more lean than the typical grain-fed beef”. He even brought in a clipping from a magazine to prove to me that it was more lean than grain-fed beef (in case I didn’t believe him). I shocked him when I told him that, while grass-fed beef is leaner, you can absolutely find grain-fed beef that is just as lean (and much cheaper of course).
|Source: iStock Photo|
|So….why pay the premium price for grass-fed beef??|
- Lower levels of cholesterol-elevating saturated and trans fats
- Higher levels of Omega-3 (EPA/DHA)
- More vitamins A, E and other important antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation
- Twice the levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which may have chemoprotective properties and may help prevent other chronic diseases.
- May be better for the environment, compared to grain-fed beef (grass produces much less carbon than grain, says Michael Pollan)
- Regarding the “lower levels of saturated fat and trans fat”, well, you can buy lean grain-fed beef (90 percent lean, or greater), which also has incredibly low levels of unhealthy fat. There are also some cuts of grain-fed beef, such as the ones listed here, that are very lean too, let’s not forget that!
- The levels of Omega-3 found in grass-fed beef are still far lower than that found in salmon and tuna. No matter what, you’ll still need to eat your fish to get the recommended amount of omega-3.
- If you really want a greater amount of CLA and omega-3, you can just buy the fattier cuts of grain-fed beef. They are comparable in CLA.
- Some grass-fed beef may have a “grassy taste”, and some find it not very palatable.
- Grass-fed almost three times as expensive as regular, grain-fed beef.
Keep in mind, when the label says “grass-fed” it may not mean the cattle were fed grass their entire life. It could mean they were fed grass just at the beginning of their life. Look for the label from the American Grassfed Association for assurance that your beef was fed a 100% grass diet, throughout their life.