Meat Quality: Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed: Even though man has been eating meat for thousands of years, it is often the subject of fierce debate: is it safe for consumption or hazardous for our health? Those against eating meat claim it causes many diseases and illnesses seen in today’s society, such as cancer and heart disease. Others believe it is healthy and essential for good health.
Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed
Those against meat consumption cite various studies that appear to validate their claims yet disregard grass-fed vs. grain-fed:
Increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. A study in the JAMA Internal Medicine claims that increased red meat consumption increases a person’s risk of having type 2 diabetes.1
Cardiovascular disease. A study in Nature Medicine, a nature research journal, found that the bacteria found in meat and eggs increased a person’s risk of hardened arteries, strokes, heart attacks, and death.2
Colon cancer. Individuals with a genetic predisposition to colon cancer are believed to have an increased risk of getting the disease if they eat red meat.
While these all appear to be valid reasons to avoid eating meat factory-farmed meats, these studies neglect to mention one important point:
Many health issues about meat consumption are due to how cattle are treated and what they eat. Meat Quality matters. Grass-fed vs. grain-fed matters. We are what we eat, eats. Let me repeat: We are what we eat, eat.
Poor Meat Quality
Humans have been eating meat since the dawn of time. Native Americans, for example, primarily consumed buffalo during the winter months because it was too cold to grow and cultivate crops. They had no choice but to eat meat during the freezing winter months. If they didn’t eat meat, they starved. This was true of most cold-weather societies around the world.
It’s important to note that these meat eaters did not experience countless health issues today. The question that must be asked is why?
Even though cows are designed to eat grass, farm-raised cattle of today are fed grains. This affects our health in several ways:
- Grass-fed vs. grain-fed cattle. Grains have high concentrations of glyphosate in the form of GMO Roundup-ready corn and soy feed. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”3
- Glyphosate is believed to cause leaky gut, which is often described as “holes” in the intestines that allow undigested proteins to leak out. When this occurs, the immune system begins to overreact, which increases a person’s risk of developing food allergies.4
- Glyphosate has been linked to autism, cancer, and many autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gluten intolerance, and Crohn’s disease.5
- Glyphosate is not included in the U.S. government’s food testing for pesticides, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers glyphosate safe. However, the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer released a statement in 2015 saying glyphosate “probably raises the risk of cancer in people exposed.”6
- In a few studies where cows were inoculated with E. coli, grain-fed cows “favored the growth of acid-resistant generic E.coli,” which could be passed onto humans.7
- Poor meat quality: Cows fed grains that have been sprayed with glyphosate, and other chemicals are often given antibiotics to help strengthen their immune systems. As a result, the milk has high levels of antibiotics and chemicals from the grains they’ve consumed, which is often passed on to humans as well.
- Grains can accumulate in an animal’s intestines because they lack the enzymes to digest it. As a result, they may develop Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria linked to sudden death in cattle.8
- Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed: Grain-fed cattle are on low-fat diets, which can lead to ulcers, acid buildup, and abscesses in the liver.8
The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Meat
While many assume there are no differences between grass-fed vs. grain-fed cattle, many studies say otherwise:
Findings suggest cows fed a grass-based diet “elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries.”9
High nutritional value. Meat is an excellent source of the following nutrients: iron, protein, and B12. Other benefits of consuming meat include the following:
Stabilize blood sugar. Protein helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, thus decreasing the risk of energy “crashes.”
Aids in muscle repair. Meat contains high levels of zinc, which aids in muscle repair.
Higher amounts of omega-3s. When comparing grain-fed and grass-fed vs. grain-fed, grass-fed varieties may have 4 times more omega-3 linoleic acid and 66% less omega-6 linoleic acid.
Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed: Higher omega-3’s are important for several reasons:
The average American diet consumes too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. In addition to grain-fed beef, corn, and vegetable oils are also high in omega-6. Omega-3 and omega-6 are two essential fatty acids needed to maintain good health. However, too much omega-6 has been linked to the following health issues:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Water retention
Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial for cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and some cancers.10 Even though man has been eating meat safely for centuries, people have been urged to stop eating it altogether in an attempt to maintain good health. However, studies indicate it’s not the meat that is the problem: the grains cows are fed, and glyphosate are the probable source of health issues.
Studies indicate eating grain-fed cattle can be hazardous to a person’s health, not grass-fed. Grass-fed beef has a completely different nutritional profile. However, by avoiding grain-fed beef and eating grass-fed varieties instead, a person can decrease their likelihood of becoming ill and maintain good health.
Treats on the Go for Littles!
Have you ever been stuck somewhere without a nutrient-dense snack option in sight? Airports are the WORST to find quality food. But, honestly, almost everywhere outside of my kitchen is tricky terrain. When it comes to finding sugar-free and additive-free snacks, there aren’t many options out there. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are TONS of new snacks on the market today; it’s just that the overwhelming majority don’t meet my stringent criteria
Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed: I fell in love with these Paleo Valley beef sticks (and their Turkey sticks, too!) for a few reasons. They’re made of 100% grass-fed & grass-finished beef (aka no grains EVER!). The cows are raised responsibly using rotational grazing practices and are never given antibiotics, hormones, or steroids.
- No artificial nitrites & nitrates
The absolute BEST part? Paleovalley beef sticks are naturally fermented using old-world methods.
This makes them shelf stable without the use of chemicals, and it causes each stick to be loaded with gut-healthy probiotics! On top of enjoying a super healthy (and easy) high-protein snack, you also reap all the benefits of grass-fed beef in every stick:
- Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids
- Optimal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio
- Rich source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
- More life-sustaining minerals
- Increased vitamins
- Higher concentration of the master antioxidant, Glutathione
Meat Quality: Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed: I know you’re wondering about the taste, so let me say this: These grass-fed beef sticks were named one of the top snacks of the year by Paleo Magazine! So yes, they’re GOOD. Make sure to use coupon code REVELATIONHEALTH10 at checkout to save an extra 10% off your order!
1An Pan, Ph.D.; Qi Sun, MD, ScD; Adam M. Bernstein, MD, ScD; (et al). Changes in Red Meat Consumption and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Published online. 2013;173(14):1328–1335. [doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6633] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1697785
2Robert A Koeth, Zeneng Wang, Bruce S Levison, (et al). Intestinal Microbiota Metabolism Of L-Carnitine, A Nutrient In Red Meat, Promotes Atherosclerosis. Published: 07 April 2013 http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n5/full/nm.3145.html?foxtrotcallback=true
3Myers JP Antoniou MN, Blumberg B, (et al.) Concerns Over Use Of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides And Risks Associated With Exposures: A Consensus Statement. Environ Health. Published 2016 Feb 17;15:19. [doi: 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0] PMID: 26883814 PMCID: PMC4756530 DOI: 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26883814
4Jose V. Tarazona, Daniele Court-Marques, Manuela Tiramani, Glyphosate Toxicity And Carcinogenicity: A Review Of The Scientific Basis Of The European Union Assessment And Its Differences With IARC.
Published online 2017 Apr 3. [doi: 10.1007/s00204-017-1962-5] Arch Toxicol. 2017; 91(8): 2723–2743. PMCID: PMC5515989 PMID: 28374158
5Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff Glyphosate, Pathways To Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue And Gluten Intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. Published online [2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184. doi: 10.2478/intox-2013-0026] PMCID: PMC3945755 PMID: 24678255
6National Geographic. What Do We Really Know About Roundup? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150422-glyphosate-roundup-herbicide-weeds/
7M. J. Van Baale, J. M. Sargeant, D. P. Gnad, (et al.) Effect of Forage or Grain Diets with or without Monensin on Ruminal Persistence and Fecal Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Cattle. Appl Environ Microbiol. Published 2004 Sep; 70(9): 5336–5342. [doi: 10.1128/AEM.70.9.5336-5342.2004] PMCID: PMC520928 PMID: 15345418. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC520928/#!po=0.632911-
8American Association For The Advancement Of Science. “Diet And Disease In Cattle: High-Grain Feed May Promote Illness And Harmful Bacteria.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010511074623.htm
9Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, (et al.) A Review Of Fatty Acid Profiles And Antioxidant Content In Grass-Fed And Grain-Fed Beef. Nutr J. 2010; 9: 10. Published online 2010 Mar 10. [doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10] PMCID: PMC2846864 PMID: 20219103 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/
10Azin Mohebi-Nejad and Behnood Bikdelicorresponding Omega-3 Supplements and Cardiovascular Diseases. Tanaffos. Published online. 2014; 13(1): 6–14. PMCID: PMC4153275 PMID: 25191488 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153275/