The manner in which cows are fed plays a big role in the nutrient makeup of the beef. It is a fact that cattle these days are given a diet of grains. However, animals in times gone by used to roam around freely and ate consumed grass. A number of studies have pointed to the fact that the nutrient composition of beef can differ as per the diet of cows.
If we see, in effect, calves have the milk from their mothers. After they become a certain age, they eat grass, shrubs and other plants they come in contact with. This goes on for half-a-year to one year. They are then shifted to feedlots. Big-size feedlots are termed ‘Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs.’ Cows are given a diet comprising grain so that they fatten up quickly. So also, these cows are administered drugs and hormones so that they grow quickly. They may even be given antibiotics to prevent infections from the unhealthy environment they are placed in. From here, they are shifted to the factories for slaughter purposes. One cannot compare their diets and their lives with those of grass-fed cows which live in natural environments. Hence grass-fed beef tends to be different from the beef which comes from grain-fed cows.
How else is grass-fed beef different from grain-fed beef?
As established, grass-fed beef has less of total fat content than grain-fed beef. This difference is even more marked when it comes to the fatty acid composition of both varieties of beef. Thus, grass-fed beef has fewer calories in it. Also, the exact composition of fatty acids is very different in both types. Grass-fed beef has either the same amount of a little lesser amount of saturated and monounsaturated fats. Even the amounts of omega-6 fatty acids are almost the same in grass-fed and grain-fed varieties. However, the quota of Omega-3 fatty acids is where the difference really lies. The grass-fed beef has almost five times the amount of these fats as compared with the grain-fed variety of beef. So also, the grass-fed beef has about twice the amount of Conjugated Linoleic Acid as grain-fed beef. This particular fatty compound is linked with certain benefits for our health. Thus, it stands to reason that grass-fed beef is of a much better standard when it comes to human health as compared to grain-fed beef. It is a good idea to inquire where you get your beef from (if you are a regular beefeater). In the short run, the two varieties may not count for all that much. However, in the long run at least it may prove beneficial by far to have beef which comes from the grass-fed stock. Despite this knowledge, it may not always be possible to find out the exact source of your beef very easily. At times, beef suppliers may not wish to divulge this information to beef eaters or consumers for very obvious reasons.