nutritional value

grain vs. grass

The big debate of grain-fed versus grass-fed often comes down to how they benefit human health differently.

 

Grass-fed beef is often touted as being far superior to grain-fed beef in terms of being much healthier and nutrient rich. While there is some truth to a few of the arguments, the facts are often misrepresented or misinterpreted and can mean something different to what most consumers think.

Myth 01

Because grass-fed beef is leaner, it is the healthier option in terms of fat content.

As mentioned, grass-fed beef is definitely leaner and contains less intramuscular fat (marbling). The problem lies in the fact that most studies available comparing the fat content of grain- and grass-fed beef are based on US meat which places a lot of value on highly marbled meat. South African grain-fed beef contains much less fat than it’s American counterpart. South African based studies also show that there has been a significant decrease in fat content, particularly in A-grade grain-fed beef in the past 50 years. And, when comparing young, grain-fed meat to older grass-fed beef, grain-fed actually comes out on top. 

Myth 02

Grass-fed beef has more vitamins, nutrients and 'good' fats than grain-fed beef.

Once again, while there is some truth to this statement, the scientific results have been somewhat misrepresented, with some of the benefits being exaggerated. Most health claims focus on the higher Omega-3 levels in grass-fed beef. These levels can be up to 50% higher than in grain-fed beef - but here’s the thing: these levels are so low that it’s not much of an advantage.

 

The same goes for a range of other vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. While grass-fed beef can have more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus and Sodium, the actual comparative values are usually not given because the differences are minor.

 

The point is: There’s no need to have a beef with yourself - grass-fed or grain-fed, you’re getting in about the same amount of nutrients when you enjoy a delicious steak.