Ask A Healer Nutrition Series
Grassfed Meat - Nutritional Information
Maybe it's not where's the beef but what did the beef eat? Grass fed or grain fed beef ... which is healthier?
by N J Howell
When it comes to the controversy over grass fed beef vs. grain fed beef, there are supporters on both sides.
I personally feel that grass fed is better. I certainly like the milk from grass fed beef. It just tastes better. So does grass fed beef, in my opinion. It tastes lighter and cleaner somehow than grainfed.
Of course, quality depends on the grass quality too, in addition to how the animals are treated and processed. There are companies that certify they raise and process animals in a humane fashion. I look for those because I believe a happy animal is a healthy animal.
Organic grass fed is not always available so it's good to read the fine print on the
labels and even email the company for more information on the grass that is consumed.
Most companies that sell organic products are open to giving consumers more information because they are in touch with the concerns about purity.
To read more about why some feel grass fed cattle are healthier, visit American Grass Fed Beef. Interestingly, I couldn't find a similar resource extolling the virtues of grain fed beef....If you know of one, let me know.
Before You Eat Beef, Consider What the Cow Has Eaten - How healthy is the beef you are consuming?
Additional Reading: Organic Food - Is it Better?
You are what you eat... Cows are also what they eat. Did you know that some cattle are being fed animal by-products? For example, according to this Source: report on meat processing and your food, way back in 2001:
"It has been estimated that only 68% of a chicken, 62% of a pig, 54% of a bovine animal and 52% of a sheep or goat is directly consumed. Therefore, every year,more than 10 million tons of meat not destined for direct human consumption derived from healthy animals, are produced in the EU.
This material is then transformed in avariety of products used in human food, animal feed, cosmetic, pharmaceutical andother technical use.
Bones, skin and connective tissue, such as tendons, are used for the production of gelatine which is then used in human food (desserts, gummed candies,marshmallow and prepared meat products), animal feed (coats of vitamines, binders of feed pellet and dog chews), pharmaceutical (hard and soft capsules) and technical use (in the photographic industry for paper coating and as acomponent in silver halide emulsion coatings, etc)
Mixture of bones, meat trimmings and offals are rendered into fats and into animal proteins which are then used in human food, animal feed, cosmetic,pharmaceutical and technical products;- offals and meat trimmings are used as fresh raw material in pet food and pharmaceuticals or, following strict heat treatment (i.e.133°C for 20 minutes at 3bars of pressure, in animal feed.
This same report went on to say there are no risks from these uses......that meat and bone were introduced into animal feed a long time ago. Yet, they also acknowledge that something went wrong and
trace the origin of Mad Cow disease to contaminated food. Cattle eating cattle.
If you are used to grain fed beef, there are a few differences: The taste of grass fed may require a little getting used to. I prefer it but others have said they had to adjust to it. Also, when grilling, grass fed takes a lot less time because it has less saturated fats than grain fed. On the other hand, grass fed beef has more of the healthy omega-3's.
In my opinion, Mad Cow Disease was a problem waiting to happen (and I wouldn't be surprised if researchers find a link between by-products in chicken feed and the bird flu). To feed a cow ground up meat by-products, and particularly the by-products of other cows, goes against the natural digestive system of the animal and also, I believe it weakens
the cow's immune system resulting in less healthy cows....less healthy meat.
Health Care Disclaimer: The information contained in article on grass fed beef vs grain fed beef, as well as the information excerpted on the report about animal by-products and Mad Cow Disease represent my current level of research into a complicated matter.
Be pro-active in your own health by doing further research in determining the best beef for you and the ones you love to consume. I encourage you not to assume that FDA-inspected means best.
It's good that there are regulations governing bacteria and other harmful substances in our meat but consumers must
stay involved in all aspects of how meat goes from field to table, to insure that healthy beef remains an option.