what’s eating you?

grain-fed vs. grass-fed

One of the biggest arguments in the grain versus grass debate is that grass-fed beef is healthier and contains more nutritional value than grain-fed beef.

 

While there is a little truth to the argument, grass-fed beef is only marginally healthier than it’s grain-fed counterpart, so little that many scientists believe the difference is almost non-existent and often evidence is inconsistent. When we compare the nutritional value of grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef, the numbers tell a different story. The numbers below compare 115g of ground beef (a US-based study).

OMEGA-3

good fatty acids that protect your heart, improve brain function and protects eyes and vision

When it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids, grass-fed beef does indeed trump grain-fed beef. The grass-fed movement continuously uses this statistic to prove their argument, but when it really comes down to it, the difference between the two is very little. Most dieticians suggest that oily fish is a much better source of Omega-3.

OMEGA-9

also known as oleic acid, these are good monounsaturated fats that improve circulation and help prevent diabetes

From here, the numbers begin to reveal a different side of the grain versus grass debate. Omega-9 fatty acids are not manufactured by the body so it’s important that we consume foods that supplement this intake. In this case, grain-fed beef has a significantly higher amount.

SATURATED & TRANS FATS

the so-called bad fats that are said to increase bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels

While the grass-fed movement often cites grass-fed beef as being leaner and having a lower fat content, this argument is somewhat flimsy on two levels. Firstly, it is said that grass-fed beef has more ‘good’ fat (which is debatable). Secondly, research has shown that often, grass-fed has higher levels of saturated and trans fats.