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  • Tanja Samalya, MNT

Grain-Fed or Grass-Fed Beef – Does it matter?

In the United States, people consume a lot of meat. You might be all familiar with the saying, You Are What You Eat.” Well, then we should also consider that “we are also what the animal that we eat, eats too.” This article explains why this is very true.

At the supermarket, you can basically find two different options for beef; Grain-Fed (all conventional beef) and Grass-Fed beef. Cows raised on a ranch and cows raised in conventional feedlots (confined stalls) have different diets. Often shoppers look at the price tag when choosing their meats and wonder if it matters how the cow is raised and what it eats.

The food that cows consume can have a significant effect on the nutrient makeup of the meat. Through evolution, cattle roamed free and ate plenty of grass, plants, shrubs, and bugs. In present days on a farm, when this animal eats what it is supposed to eat by nature, the nutrients in the beef are much higher and richer in antioxidants. It also contains more omega-3s and other fatty acids that are not only associated with health benefits but also make the meat leaner. Many people are also interested to know that these cows are raised more humane and environmentally-friendy.

The Grass-fed label is often abused, therefore, look for meat that shows it’s 100% Grass-Fed or Grass-Finished to ensure that the animals were raised on the pasture and have eaten grass their entire lives, from birth to harvest.

The livestock in feedlots is mostly fed a diet containing soy and corn. Those are nutrient-poor choices and ultimately becomes the exact food that we end up receiving. This beef contains more inflammatory fats, such as omega-6s, and is deficient in omega-3s. It matters because it has a more likelihood of developing cancer. Additionally, these animals are given antibiotics (due to their filthy living conditions consisting of bacteria, mud, and feces) and given synthetic estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormones to fatten up quickly and increase profitability. The meat can have 4x more fat and more calories than grass-fed beef.

Antibiotic use in animals has become a significant health threat as it has been linked to antibiotic-resistance and increased mortality rates from bacterial infections in humans.

As always, what the animal eats crawls up the food chain, which ends with us humans. I personally choose “real food” and with that, only eat “real food that eats real food.”

In good health,

Tanja Samalya, MNT


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