Grass-fed Vs. Grain-fed Beef:
What’s The Difference And Why Does It Matter?
When I read this email today from Dr. Al Sears, I figured I just have to share it with you here. I haven’t seen grass-fed versus grain-fed meat discussed in such helpful detail before. He writes:
“Today we have a food industry whose agenda is to sell food with the highest profit margin — not the highest health benefits.
In fact, I’d say one of the biggest threats to our health is our own food supply system.
Take the dairy industry for example…
Before industrial agriculture, dairy cows roamed free to graze on pasture most of the year. In winter, they ate hay (dried grass) or silage (fermented grass).
But today commercial farms pack cows into confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
More than 90% of them never eat a blade of grass.
They’re given cheap feed to increase profits. Their food is full of pesticides, cement dust, candy, chicken manure, brewery waste, cardboard, nut shells, feathers and meat scraps.1
The animals are so crowded they stand in their own waste. They quickly become sick. So they’re given antibiotics to keep down the disease rates.
But pathogens adapt to the drugs. They become resistant. The antibiotics become useless and the food from these animals becomes contaminated.
Today I’m seeing more and more foodborne illnesses from CAFO animals. Like listeria.
This bacteria was rare in dairy before the 1990s. Now it’s a high risk in milk and dairy products thanks to antibiotic resistance. It causes around 1,600 cases per year of listeriosis, a potentially deadly infection. And it kills around 260 people every year just in the U.S.
Stunning new research reveals nature’s best way to defend against listeria…
Scientists from Denmark have found that omega-3 fatty acids neutralize listeria.
And all it takes is just 30 minutes.2 These fats “switch off” certain genes that allow listeria to cause infection.
And here’s what’s fascinating…
Unlike antibiotics that cause bacteria to mutate, omega-3s work at the DNA level.
The bacteria aren’t threatened with death. They’re just inactivated. They never go into survival mode. They don’t become resistant to omega-3s.
But here’s the problem… Today’s dairy doesn’t have enough omega-3s. Grain-fed cows have only half the omega-3 fat content as grass-fed cows.
But there’s another equally important reason to switch to grass-fed cows. They have a better balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
Let me explain…
Most of us don’t get enough omega-3 fats in our diet. But we get way too many omega-6 fats. These are found in vegetable oils, salad dressings, fried foods, margarines and other processed foods.
You need some omega-6 fat, but too much is linked to chronic inflammation.
Omega-3s on the other hand are linked to reduced inflammation.
These two fats compete for space in your body. When you eat too many omega-6s they displace the healthy omega-3 fats. Then the omega-3s aren’t around to fight off inflammation — or listeria.
Ideally the omega-6 fats in your diet should be no more than twice the omega-3s.
A 2-to-1 ratio.
But CAFO animals have over 20 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3s. On the other hand grass-fed cows are much lower in omega-6s and much higher in omega-3s. They have less than a two to one ratio.
Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals have many other benefits. They have three to six times more vitamin E3 and up to four times more beta-carotene.4And they give you more B vitamins, CoQ10 and zinc.
Where to find grass-fed cattle
My advice to you is to eat grass-fed meat and dairy. It costs more, but I strongly believe it’s worth it.
To find local grass-fed meat and dairy in your area visit:
- US Wellness Meats (grasslandbeef.com) – A resource for naturally produced meat, with videos and insight from experts.
- American Grassfed Association (americangrassfed.org) – Certifies farms and ranches around the country, works with the USDA to standardize what pasture-raised means and has news and even recipes.
- Local Harvest (localharvest.org) – A complete index of farms near you.”
1. Robinson, J., Why Grassfed is Best, Vashon Island Press, WA, 2000, pg. 10
2. Sternkopf Lillebæk EM., et al. “Antimicrobial medium- and long-chain free fatty acids prevent PrfA-dependent activation of virulence genes in Listeria monocytogenes.” Res Microbiol. 2017 Jul – Aug.
3. Smith, G.C. “Dietary Supplementation of Vitamin E to Cattle to Improve Shelf-Life and Case-Life for Domestic and International Markets.” Colorado State University.
4. Prache, S., A. Priolo, et al. “Persistence of carotenoid pigments in the blood of concentrate-finished grazing sheep: its significance for the traceability of grass-feeding.” J Anim Sci. 2003 Feb.
TO READ MORE
You can learn more from Dr. Al Sears at AlSearsMD.com
Since sharing this with you, I ran across a grass-fed meat butchery which will deliver to customers all across mainland USA. You can check them out at Butcherbox.com