Grass-Fed Better Than Grain-Fed When It Comes To Beef

You may remember the "testimonial" I posted last fall from a Washington state farmer who posted a letter on his Web site claiming he killed a cow tainted with spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- better known as mad cow disease. Regardless whether you believe his story or not, his concerns were certainly true and timely, as the confidence of many had been shaken by the growing number of reports circulating in the news at that time.

At the heart of the issue is how cattle are safely fed. Three universities -- Virginia Tech, the University of Georgia and West Virginia -- are currently in the middle of a 10-year study to find a definitive answer to the question whether beef made from grass-fed cattle is any healthier for you than grain-feed animals.

The preliminary results were what I expected them to be: Pasture-fed beef has less fat and higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), indicating that it may be a healthier choice, and tastes no differently than grain-fed beef. With those findings in mind, the big-picture goal of the study is to develop innovative concepts and practices to enhance the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of grassland-based beef production systems in Appalachia, according to Virginia Tech reseachers.

As you may know, CLA has become widely popular in the form of expensive dietary supplements because of its anti-cancer and fat-fighting properties because Americans just don't get enough of it. Rather than wasting your money and your health on supplements, however, grass-fed meat is indeed the best source of CLA, as earlier research found it has three times more of that cancer-fighting chemical than grain-fed beef.

If you're interested in trying organic beef, but don't have a grocery store near you that carries it, you may want to check out the offerings in our Web store.

Science Daily April 7, 2005

Virginia Tech News March 11, 2005

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