Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Questions and Answers: Is Grass Fed Beef Really Necessary?

Q: One of the principles I keep reading about meat where Clean Eating is concerned is the emphasis on "grass fed" beef as being better. What is so much better about it? It is expensive - and really hard to find.

A: Believe me, I know how expensive it is! The meat from grass fed cattle is much healthier for you than "regular" commercially raised grain fed cows. Lower "bad" fat, higher "good" fat, and proven higher levels of cancer fighting CLAs!

First, The beef is much lower in overall fat than grain fed beef - and therefore healthier for you.

A 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grainfed steer.

If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in eating habits.  If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year.  If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity would begin to diminish. 

Although grassfed meat is low in "bad" fat (including saturated fat), it gives you from two to six times more of a type of "good" fat called "omega-3 fatty acids." 

Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in your body.  For example, of all the fats, they are the most "heart friendly." People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.  Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to have a serious heart attack

The CLA Bonus   The meat and milk from grassfed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called "conjugated linoleic acid" or CLA.  When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their milk and meat contain as much as five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.12

CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer.

In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA --- a mere 0.1 percent of total calories ---greatly reduced tumor growth. Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grassfed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grainfed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection.

There is new evidence suggesting that CLA does reduce cancer risk in humans.

In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels of CLA. 

Source: American Grass Fed Beef Council

Grass fed beef IS more expensive, but overall - a healthier beef for your body. Look for it clearly labeled packages of grass fed beef at your local natural or organic grocery store. It's much harder to find grass fed beef at your normal "every day" grocery store. Try to incorporate grass fed beef into your diet at least once a week - more if your budget allows.