The big debate between grass fed beef and grain fed beef as to which is better has never yielded a concrete conclusion, so the Buyfresh team has taken it upon themselves to investigate!
Just to clear up the confusion, modern cattle are either raised on a grass or grain fed diet, and sometimes both. All baby cows start off on a mixture of their mother’s milk and grass and are later moved to either feedlots (grain fed) or continue grazing on pasture (grass fed).
Grass Fed Beef v.s. Grain Fed Beef
Is there really a major difference between these two methods? Some claim its in the taste, we all know its in the price, but could there be more to it? At Buyfresh we believe in choice, so we’ve analysed the finer details to help you make yours.
Grass fed cows are more active because they move and graze therefore containing less total fat than grain fed beef. Grass fed beef is therefore lower in calories. Grass fed beef also contains a lot less monounsaturated fat than grain fed. Monounsaturated is the good kind of fat that helps with weight loss and inflammation. Both types of beef contain the same amount of omega 6’s but grass fed can contain as much as five times the amount of omega 3’s than grain fed. Forgot about the importance of omega? Check out our post on why you need them in your diet here.
CLA is another healthy fatty acid that is seen in higher amounts in grass fed meat. Let’s not forget that the breed of cattle and type of meat cut also have a considerable effect on the fat composition.
Meat contains almost every nutrient that we need to survive and thrive.
Compared to grain fed beef, grass fed beef is much higher in the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A: Essential for a strong immune system and to maintain good vision
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant in your cell membrane that protects them from oxidation. Grass fed beef also tends to be richer in other antioxidants
It’s important to keep in mind that even conventional, grain fed beef is very healthy. It is still a nutritious food that can be part of a healthy diet. Many concerns with grain fed beef are the antibiotics and growth hormones that some grain fed cattle are exposed to which isn’t the best for our health. Grass fed beef tends to be more expensive and may not be worth the extra cost for some people. Depending on where you live, it may also be inconvenient to buy grass fed beef.
As you can imagine, grass fed farming is better for the environment than grain fed farming because the process requires less energy (the technology used to fertilise and feed the cattle is energy intensive). Grass fed farming also promotes soil biodiversity. The fertilisers used in grain fed farming may leak into ground and surface water and negatively affect water quality for both humans and animals. Grain fed animals are mostly fed corn whose mass production is the current lead in agriculture pollutants. Learn more about this here.
Personal Preference: Grass fed beef
There can be subtle differences in taste. Grass fed beef is leaner and may have a different texture. Grass fed seems to have a more beefy taste compared to the buttery taste of grain fed, which speaks to a personal preference more so than a superior vs inferior taste. Even though grass fed beef may contain higher amounts of certain nutrients, there is currently limited evidence that it’s significantly healthier than grain fed beef in the context of a balanced diet. However, there are vast differences in how the animals are raised and the impact on the environment, thus we prefer to promote grass fed beef on Buyfresh.
In the end, the choice depends on your preferences and ideals. Some people prefer grass fed, whilst other prefer grain fed. Visit our website, try both and tell us which one you prefer!
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