Grass-Fed Beef In A Nutshell
we've been told that grain-fed beef is better beef. It's a
great, natural, healthy food.
But that rosy picture steadily
loses its luster
as new scientific discoveries in the fields of human health and
nutrition keep advancing.
The August 1998 issue of the
Angus Journal included a supplement titled Feeding
Options. In the supplement's first article, written by Troy
Smith, there's an interesting line. “For the ruminant animal,
there's nothing more natural than range.” ("Range" means "large
pasture.") Just think about this for a moment.
words “natural” and “range.” Also, “there's nothing more
natural” means that every other situation is less natural.
Probably the least natural cattle feeds are chicken manure;
dead animal parts; waste products from food, beverage, and candy
factories; silage; and GRAIN. Yes, grain!
Cattle, like all other
ruminants and many other critters, developed on this Earth
eating green leafy plants, mostly grass. They ate virtually no
grain. In fact, there isn't a livestock species on this planet
that evolved eating grain! This is important since scientists
are reporting that many of America's leading health problems are
due to diets top heavy in Omega-6 fatty acids versus the intake
of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from
grains which are also deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3
fatty acids, and the appropriate balance of Omega-6 fatty acids,
come mainly from green leafy plants and some nuts.
The story on the fatty acids
is very important. It started unfolding back in the early 1980s
when nutritionists and scientists started making new discoveries
about fat and fatty acids. They knew there were many different
fats, but they didn't fully understand the role they played in
animal body function. Also, they begin to figure out that some
are crucial for human health. Some of the most crucial fats are
in the list of compounds that make up the membranes for every
cell in a human body. That means some fats are not what we
usually associate with the fat we can see on a body. With more
study the dietitians and scientists figured out that the human
body needs a very particular balance of certain essential fats
in its diet because the body's only source for those fats is
food. Two of the more important essential fats are the families
of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
After isolating these fatty
acids scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of
Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids in cell membranes
exceeds 4:1, people develop more health problems. This is
especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that
exceed 15:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 1:1. (See the
accompanying chart that was copied from Jo Robinson's book: Why
Grass-fed Is Best!) Similar ratios are also found in
all grain-fed versus grass-fed livestock products! Those
products include all meats, poultry, dairy, and fish. For
instance skinless chicken breasts are 18:1 and it doesn't matter
if the chicken is Tyson, organic, vegetable fed, free range, or
grown on the moon chicken.
The health problems
associated with diets high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3 are
cancer, heart disease, depression, obesity, insulin resistance,
allergies, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis,
diabetes, attention deficit syndrome, and the list goes on.
These diseases are not associated with bacterial infections.
They are bodies failing, not from aging, but from improper
We think this makes the
positive health story for natural grass-fed beef rather
What About the Eating
Beef “quality” grades
(prime, choice, select, and standard) are supposed to compare
the “eating experience.” The grade is based on fat content.
The greater the quantity of intramuscular fat in the meat, the
higher the grade. But everyone knows that sometimes standard
grades of beef provide better eating experiences than some prime
grades of beef. So the current grading system is highly flawed.
Yet it's the measure the beef industry uses to sell beef to the
consumer. Since this system is based on saturated fat, it
promotes the wrong kind of fat, not the meat or proper balance
of nutrients, nor the eating experience.
Unfortunately, what the
“industry sells” is not what the consumer actually wants. The
industry wants the fattest grain-fed beef possible because it
has been selling Americans on the concept that the fattest beef
is the best beef. Most consumers want healthy, satisfying food.
Of course, some don't really care.
The beef industry's
fascination with white saturated fat (which develops when cattle
are fed grain) started about a century ago. The feedlot industry
then evolved on the back of the grain feeding concept. And for
the past 50 years the modern grain-fed beef industry has been
promoting fat as the reason why beef has good flavor, why it is
juicy, and why it is tender. All the while it has been
promoting fat the beef industry has had to fight a rearguard
action because many “modern” health problems have been linked to
eating beef. But it wasn't until just recently that scientists
determined that it wasn't just beef that caused the dramatic
increase in health problems in the United States, but the
feeding of grain in the production of all meat, poultry, dairy,
and fish/shrimp products and the dramatic reduction of Omega-3
fatty acids in the American diet that was the culprit. To this
day the beef industry is still writing off the health problem
association as hokum and myth. But the facts are overwhelming
and in time the consumer will learn the truth.
Despite the scientific
research and the conclusions being drawn, the beef industry is
promoting fat more today than ever before. The drumbeat is loud
and long. “More fat means higher quality.” “Higher quality
receives higher price.” “More fat means higher quality.”
“Higher quality receives higher price.” The beat goes on --
even while they cut off the visible fat and talk "lean meats."
What is really amazing about
this whole fat/quality thing is that the beef industry's
position on this is pure B.S. from beginning to end. There have
been many scientific studies regarding meat. So the data is
We know that there is at
best a 10% correlation between intramuscular fat and tenderness.
We know that studies
comparing tenderness in grain-fed beef versus grass-fed beef
have shown no significant differences. (Grass-fed beef is more
inconsistent because it is raised in an uncontrolled
We know that in grain-fed
beef the flavor is in the fat, and that the meat has very little
We know that beef from
cattle that graze lush grasslands definitely has flavor in the
meat, plus the visible fat. We know that fat is juicy,
but meat can be juicy too, so fat isn't needed for a juicy
We know that nutritionists
say people shouldn't eat excessive quantities of saturated fat.
Yet they say the human body requires a proper balance of the
And we know that the proper balance of the right
fats comes automatically from livestock grazing lush grasslands.
That's why we can eat their visible fat!
We know that diets high in
Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids are very bad
for human health.
We know that grain-fed beef
products have high ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3
fatty acids even if they are "extra lean." (That's because the
fatty acids are components of all cell membranes.)
We know that beef from
cattle grazing lush grasslands is a natural source of Omega-3
And, unlike grain-fed beef, it is also high in CLA
(Conjugated Linoleic Acid), beta carotene, and vitamins A and E.
For a fact the consistency,
flavour, look, smell, and texture of grass-fed beef differs from
grain-fed beef. Therefore some consumers will have to learn to
appreciate the differences if they are going to eat grass-fed
beef. Others will like it immediately because it actually
tastes like beef. Others will gladly learn to like it because
it does a body good.
Yes, the time for Thaba
Manzi Grass-Fed Beef and our other Grass-Fed livestock, BaPedi
Sheep mutton is now.
Grass-Fed Meats, They're What's
Best for Dinner!
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-6 Fatty Acid
High & Saturated
Original and Bold
All Other Factors
E. coli Danger
Note: Grassfed Beef
should not be confused with organic or "free-range", because
as stated by Jo Robinson, author
of Why Grassfed is Best,
“organic meats may be free of chemicals, but does not guarantee the
omega-3 rich diet of grass fed animals”.
© Manzi Ranch