You probably already know that grass fed beef has nothing to do with its feedlot-raised, grain-fed cousin that’s sold in supermarkets on the nutritional side.
In fact, grass fed beef contains 2 to 4 times more omega-3 (essential fatty acids), 4 times more vitamin A and E, a lot more conjugated linoleic acid/CLA (a natural fat burner), and less fat and calories per pound than regular grain-fed beef you buy at the supermarket.
Grass-fed animals are considerably healthier than grain-fed ones, so farmers don’t have to use part of the 15 million pounds of antibiotics used on grain-fed cattle just to prevent them from getting sick.
Buying quality meat becomes a great idea to improve your own health and support local farms that care about animals.
So what label claim do you look for at your local Whole Foods to find grass-fed beef?
Turns out it’s really not that clear.
In the last couple of years, the labeling regulations have changed quite a lot in the beef industry. But very few customers know that.
Nowadays, manufacturers can sell grass fed beef that has been “grain-finished” as 100% grass fed beef.
The problem is: some farmers will feed their cattle grass for most of their lifespan, but “finish” them with grains in the last months before sending them to the slaughterhouse.
Because the last 90 to 160 days of diet determine how much nutrition your big, juicy steak will contain, this process removes any benefits the initial grass diet might have had.
The bottom line: your beef needs to be both grass-fed and grass-finished to contain all the nutrition it’s supposed to.
But because those claims are still not regulated by the USDA, your best insurance is to develop a relationship with a farmer that raises beef the right way.
This will give you confidence that you’re buying the right kind.
By: Nick Pineault
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