Why Grassfed Animal Products Are Better For You
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A Quick Review of the Fats That Make Up Your Body
All food fats are a blend of the different types, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats include poly- and monounsaturated fats. omega-3s and 6s are types of polyunsaturated fats, called essential because we have to get them from food, our bodies can't manufacture them from other fats.
The Story on the the Good Fats and Bad Fats
Whereas cellular proteins are genetically determined, the polyunsaturated fatty acids composition of all cell membranes is to a great extent dependent on the dietary intake.
There are many kinds of fats in the body. Some of the most crucial fats are in the list of compounds that make up the cell walls for all of the body's cells.
After isolating these fats scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. This is especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 3:1.
Similar ratios are also found in all grain-fed versus grass-fed livestock products.
Grassfed products are rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats that have been linked with disease.
If you want to read a comprehensive review of omega 3 fats along with 78 references to the clinical literature you can read Omega 3 Oils.
Why are Omega 3 Fatty Acids Important For Your Health?
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for normal growth and may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of:
- coronary artery disease
- other inflammatory and autoimmune disorder
Your Body Can't Make These Fats So You Have to Get Them From Your Diet
Omega 3 and omega 6 fats are not interconvertible in your body and are important components of practically all cell membranes.
Whereas the proteins in your cell are genetically determined, the unsaturated fats of all your cell membranes is to a great extent determined on what you eat.
Therefore you need sufficient amounts of dietary omega 6 and omega 3 fats and they need to be balanced for normal development.
Your Diet Has Evolved From Your Ancient Ancestors
On the basis of estimates from studies in Paleolithic nutrition and modern-day hunter-gatherer populations, humans evolved on a diet that was much lower in saturated fatty acids than is today's diet. Furthermore, the diet contained small but roughly equal amounts of omega 6 and omega 3 fats.
Plant Fat Ratios
In the past 100 years there has been a rapid and unprecedented change in our diet. The modern vegetable oil industry was developed, and it is based on oil from seeds rich in omega 6 fats. Modern agriculture increased production by emphasizing grain feeds for domestic livestock, and grains are rich in omega 6 fats. Therefore, aggressive, industrialized agricultural management techniques have decreased the omega 3 fat content in many foods: green leafy vegetables, animal meats, eggs, and even fish.
This imbalance where omega 6 fats levels exceed omega 3 levels can be seen by comparing wild edible plants and wild animals and birds with products of modern agriculture. Products of modern agriculture frequently have drastically lower omega 3 levels. It is estimated that man evolved with a omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of one to one from both meat and vegetable sources.
Today the vegetable sources have an estimated omega 6:3 ratio of 10 to one. The modern diet of meat, fish, chicken, and vegetable oils has a ratio estimated to be 20 or 25 to one.
Eggs and Beef Fat Ratios
Chickens that eat vegetables high in omega 3 fats, along with insects and lots of fresh green grass, supplemented with fresh and dried fruit, and small amounts of corn
Range fed eggs have an omega 6:3 ratio of 1.5 to one whereas the "supermarket egg"has a ratio of 20 to one.
Modern agriculture's emphasis on increased production has led to the development of chicken feed that is being reflected in the out-of-balance ratio of fatty acids in the "supermarket egg."
North Dakota State University conducted a study on the nutritional differences between grass-fed and grain-fed bison. The results of that study closely followed that of the egg studies. The grass-fed bison had omega 6 to omega 3 ratios of 4.0 to one, and the grain-fed bison had ratios of 21 to one.
Additional studies by others clearly show that the longer cattle are fed grain, the greater the fatty acid imbalance. For instance, after 200 days in the feedlot grain-fed cattle have omega 6 to omega 3 ratios that exceed 20 to one. Many cattle are fed 200 days or more in the United States.
With the scientific data that has been published concerning omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, we must assume grass-fed beef is far better for human nutrition than grain-fed beef. If so, then having access to grass-fed beef can be very beneficial for one's health.
And since REAL Beef has been raised naturally, without hormones, and without having been fed antibiotics during the final phase of their lives, they have added benefits.
Why Not Get Your Omega 3 Fats From Fish?
Fish, while generally a leaner food choice than beef, is heavily promoted as a good source of the omega-3 fats.
The problem with fish is that over half of the US burns coal to generate electricty and 80,000 pounds of mercury is dumped into the oceans every year as a result.
Nearly all fish are contaminated with mercury. It has gotten so bad that even the conservative US government warns pregnant women to avoid eating fish. Additionally, it is my recommendation to avoid all fish, unless you are absolutely certain that it has been tested in a laboratory and shown not to contain detectable levels of mercury and other toxins.
REAL Beef is Grass Fed Beef and a Major Source of Omega 3 fats
When we switch from grainfed to grassfed meat, then, we are simply returning to the diet of our long-ago ancestors, the diet that is most in harmony with our physiology. Every cell and every system of our bodies will function better when we eat products from animals raised on grass.
Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef.
Omega 3s in beef that feed on grass is 7% of the total fat content, compared to 1% in grain-only fed beef.
Grass-fed beef has the recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats (3:1.)
Grass-fed beef is loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins, plus it's a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.
Beef, in its natural grass-fed state, is a health food of the highest order.