Grass Fed vs Grain Fed
There are many differences between meat and animal products produced from animals fed a grain diet as opposed to a grass diet. One of the most important differences is in the ratio of Omega fatty acids.
The fatty acid composition of all cell membranes in humans is to a great extent dependent on dietary intake.
Not only are these fatty acids important to human health, they are necessary in the right proportions. Two essential fatty acids are the omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart, supple and flexible joints, healthy growth and strong bones and teeth.
The recommended ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be less than 4:1.
Grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 ratio, whereas grass-fed beef has a ratio of around 3:1.
Grass-fed products are rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats that have been linked to ill-health and disease. (1)
This imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is also common in poultry and egg production as well. (2)
North Dakota University research showed similar results for bison. The grass-fed bison had omega 6 to omega 3 ratios of 4:1, and the grain-fed bison had ratios of 21:1. (3)
Organic milk has up to 71 percent more omega 3 than non-organic milk, according to a recent study by the University of Aberdeen. (4 )
These are important issues to remember when choosing organic/free range food versus food from mass farming practices.
The choices we make today affect our health tomorrow. Choose wisely…
(1)Australian Organic Food Directory Website
(2) H.D. Karsten, P.H. Patterson, R. Stout and G. Crews (2010). Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens.
(3) Marchello, Martin, "Nutrient Composition of Grass- and Grain-Finished Bison" (2001). Great Plains Research: A Journal of Natural and Social Sciences. Paper 544.
(4) Dewhurst R J, Fisher W J, Tweed J K S and Wilkins R J (2003). Comparison of grass and legume silages for milk production. 1. Production responses with different levels of concentrate. Journal of Dairy Science (volume 86 pages 2598-2611)