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Grass Fed Beef vs Grain Reared: What The Experts Say

Blog • May 14th 2018
Grass Fed Beef

Grass Fed Beef vs Grain Reared - What The Experts Say

Chris Berry explores why it is grass fed beef all the way for Farmison & Co

The second of our series looking at the benefits of grass-fed beef over grain-reared we cast an ultra-observant eye at the unequivocally strong story of grass-reared cattle.

Extensive research from experts in science, diet and animal welfare bears out what Farmison & Co has always believed, that cattle grazed in fields on the ultimate natural eco system of grass offers the best nutrition and delivers not just the tastiest, but the most nutritious, wholesome and health conscious beef.

Farmison & Co's commitment to bringing the best mouth-watering taste sensations and its ethos of providing healthy meat means they source producers who share Farmison & Co's concerns for the natural quality of life for their livestock and the environmental benefits that are derived. This ethos sets the standard for quality, succulent beef and experts are all around the world share their opinion.

Grass-Fed is Healthy

'More and more farmers are raising grass-fed beef on a natural diet consisting of fresh grasses, legumes and other plants and allowing them to roam about,' say online media meat experts GoodFood World.

'Many are choosing to follow organic practices in their herd management, which are clearly healthier and more humane for the animals. The good news is that meat from those animals is free of antibiotics, steroids, hormones, pesticides, herbicides and other potentially toxic substances.'

'An animal's diet can have an impact on the nutritional content of the meat. Grass-fed meat has been shown to contain less fat, more beneficial fatty acids, more vitamins and to be a good source of a variety of nutrients. According to a study published in the Journal of Animal Science eating grass-fed beef provides many benefits to consumers.'

Grass-Fed is Better for the Environment

Oscar-nominated Leonardo DiCaprio entered the Grass-reared debate by pinning his colours to the environmental mast when executive producer of Cowspiracy a documentary that reached a huge audience on Netflix. The programme analyses the impact of animal agriculture, specifically what it refers to as factory farming of cattle destined for beef production and the impact this is having on the environment.

While Farmison & Co is well aware of the excellence in animal husbandry that exists through all UK beef farmers the documentary's facts further accentuate the belief that outdoor, natural, grass-reared beef is far better for the planet than indoor, grain-reared animals.

Grass-Fed is Better for your Diet

US-based health information specialists Healthline amplify Farmison & Co's belief that grass-reared and in Farmison & Co's case heritage beef is not just ethically superior, it is also far better for your diet.

'The way cows are fed can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef,' says Healthline. 'Many studies have shown that the nutrients in beef can vary depending on what the cows eat. It's not only important what we eat. It also matters what foods that we eat, ate.'

'Cows rapidly fattened up with grain-based feeds are often given drugs and hormones to grow faster as well as antibiotics to survive indoors. Compare that to grass-fed cows, which may continue to live on grassland for the remainder of their lives.'

'Grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed beef, which means that gram for gram grass-fed beef contains fewer calories. The composition of fatty acids is vastly different, which is where grass-fed really shines. It has either similar or slightly less saturated and monounsaturated fats; and contains up to five times as much Omega 3.'

Michael Joseph MSc has written an outstanding report on diet quality and animal welfare. He writes: 'One particular study shows that 11.1 per cent of grain-fed cows suffer from liver abscesses after 120 days in a feedlot (the US interpretation of indoor cattle). In contrast the rate of afflicted grass-fed cows was only 0.2 per cent. Grass-fed cows spend their days eating grass, which is a far more natural diet for cattle. Generally speaking grass-fed beef is better for the animal because it means they can graze on pasture all day and move around freely. The environment allows the animal chance to enjoy a more natural life with greater freedom and eat whatever leafy greens it can find.'

'Cattle raised on pasture eat their natural diet and live in their natural environment. As a result they are both healthier and happier. Grass-fed beef contains a higher concentration of fat soluble vitamins A and E and a 2005 study showed that beef from pasture-fed cattle tends to have a seven times higher vitamin A content.'

'If animal welfare is the biggest concern then choosing 100 per cent grass-fed beef is the obvious option. If health and nutrition are the biggest concerns then grass-fed beef is still better.'

Grass-Fed is the Paleo Way

A trend to cross the Atlantic; The Paleo Diet, takes everything back to basics to get people to eat like our ancestors, and advocates grass-fed meat. Paleo diet online experts Paleo Leap see grass-reared beef as the way forward in nutrition, the environment and animal welfare:

'Paleo is big on grass-fed meat and not just because it is natural for cows to eat grass. All beef is nutritious but grass-fed beef is significantly more nutritious than grain-fed. Grass-fed is the only kind of beef that contains conjugated linoleic acid. It is a type of fat that might be very important for preventing weight gain. Grass-fed beef has much more vitamin K2 important for heart health and bone health and more antioxidants especially vitamin E.'

'Grain-fed meat is wrecking our water supply. It starts with the fields where we grow the corn that feeds grain-fed cows. This kind of intensive farming depletes the soil of nutrients. We're destroying the only place we have to grow our food. We dump fertiliser on it but the fertiliser runs off into our lakes and rivers which makes the water unsafe to drink and kills the fish.'

'Grass-fed beef can go a long way towards addressing these problems and since they are spread out they don't need constant antibiotic treatment, so they don't get antibiotic resistant superbugs.'

Don't Mess With Nature - that's the Farmison & Co way

Farmison & Co is wholly committed to sourcing grass-reared heritage beef cattle that have led healthier, happier, stress-free lives. 'Grass-reared heritage beef is more nutritious, better for the planet and we believe the most succulent, tasty beef you will ever experience - and the experts agree with our ethos, ethics and environmental concerns' says John Pallagi of Farmison & Co.