We all love and enjoy a perfectly done and juicy piece of beef steak! Since recent, a majority of the population is debating over the better source of producing beef, that is, whether grass fed beef is better than the grain fed type. Many studies report that the nutritional content is altered by the feed consumed by the cow. Read on, to get a detailed insight in to the type of beef that you should pick next time you visit your nearby grocery shop.
For ages, farm animals have been grazing on freely available grass, whereas in recent times a majority of the farms, particularly the ones in the US, feed mainly grains to cattle. This difference in the cattle feed results in two varying type of beef, grain fed and grass fed beef.
To meet the increasing demands of the market, many raising and feeding centers fatten up the cattle by giving them grain based feed, that usually comprises of a soy or corn base, in addition to small quantities of dried grass. That is not all, cows are also administered growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs to speed up their growth.
As shared before, the diet of cow largely affects the nutritional composition of the beef sourced from it. The composition of fatty acids in beef is the vital nutrient that is largely altered as per the diet consumed by the cattle. Grass fed beef contains significantly less amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, but almost five times high the quantity of omega-3 fatty acids and twice as much the quantity of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as compared to the grain fed beef. On the other hand, both grass and grain fed beef contain similar quantities of omega-6 fatty acids.
While either of the beef varieties is rich in proteins, vitamin B3, B6, B12, iron, zinc, selenium, creatine, and carnosine, grass fed beef has a much higher amount of carotenoids, vitamin E, and other antioxidants as compared to the grain fed variety. These nutritional values are also variable according to the breed and type of meat cuts.
However, you should not undermine the importance of grain fed beef as it is much cheaper and easily available than the grass fed variant. You may also experience some taste difference between the two varieties as the grass fed is leaner and contains less total fat than the grain fed beef.
Given the nutritional difference, there are still not enough compelling evidence to significantly support the health quotient of the grass fed beef.
In the end, it all sums up to the fact that it is for you to make the choices based on your priorities, preferences, and values.