Science

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Grass-Fed Beef Better for Health, Environment

July 29, 2008 06:00 AM
by Isabel Cowles
An increasing number of studies show that grass-fed beef contains more nutrients, less fat and fewer calories than corn-fed beef and pollutes less than industrialized cattle farming.

30-Second Summary

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Several studies point to the health benefits of grass-fed beef over cattle raised on corn-based feed.

In addition to having higher levels of “good fats” including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs), grass-fed beef has significantly less fat and calories than its more marbled equivalent.

Moreover, grass-fed beef avoids some of the health concerns associated with cattle fed on grain. The outbreak of mad cow disease in Europe in the 1990s was apparently caused by grain that was mixed with meat-and-bonemeal from contaminated cows. The disease caused neurological disorders in both animals and humans.

Additionally, cows raised in industrial farms are often fed antibiotics to keep from getting sick in close quarters. Human beings who ingest the antibiotics indirectly are often susceptible to antibiotic immunities as a result.

Finally, grass-fed beef can be better for the environment. Because fewer cows can be kept on a pasture, farms that raise grass-fed beef tend to be smaller and less polluting. Furthermore, the mass production of corn necessary to provide grain for industrial cow farms produces serious emissions in the form of harvesting and transportation.

However, because grass-fed beef is produced on a smaller scale than industrially farmed beef, it is not always stocked by conventional grocery stores. In some areas, the only place to find pasture-raised beef is online. The small-scale nature of the industry also means that grass-fed beef sells at higher prices.

Headline Link: 'Want Guilt-Free Steak? Go against the Grain'

Background: Why grass-fed beef is better

Reference: The nutrients in grass-fed beef

Related Topics: Health risks of grain-fed beef

Mad cow disease
Health and environmental hazards of corn-fed beef 
Eat beef better
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