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Thread: Any real, measurable benefit to grass-fed beef? page

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    DannyP's Avatar
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    Any real, measurable benefit to grass-fed beef?

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    All else being equal (such as how cattle are raised, quality of food, lack of drugs administered), and assuming one is indifferent to fat content, is there really any measurable benefit to grass-fed beef over grass-fed, grain-finished beef? So far the only real difference I can find is that the taste and fat content are a bit different. The perceived quality differential seems to have more to do with the fact that most grass-fed is at the highest echelon, while there's a very broad range of grain-fed or grain-finished beef.

    But is there a real difference in how the two kinds of beef are metabolized or what they do to the consumer?

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    Grass-fed beef should have more fat-soluble vitamins

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    Does grain-finishing somehow diminish the nutritional quality of otherwise pasture-raised beef, or are you talking about only-grass vs. only-grain?

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    I believe grain finishing diminishes the nutritional quality. My understanding is that most cows are grass-fed until it's time to be slaughtered. They're generally not fed only grain for their entire lives.

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    I just assumed the shitty cows that don't even know what a pasture is just got buckets of crap that included mostly grain and corn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyP View Post
    I just assumed the shitty cows that don't even know what a pasture is just got buckets of crap that included mostly grain and corn.
    I think feeding corn to cows tends to kill them, so they only do that at the end.

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    Yes

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    Grain finished is a marketing term. Cattle are either Grass Fed (per USDA: all their lives) or they aren't. All cattle start life on grass and then most are grain finished to get them fat faster. Also Grass Fed by USDA definition won't be raised with subtherapeutic antibiotics (which would concern me if I still had more than maybe 2/3rds or more of my life left) and hormones. Grain finished, being a marketing term, tells you nothing about either of those.

    The USDA also defines organic meat. This can be fed organic grain, which means at least the cattle aren't eating GMO products.

    JMO from my reading, but of all the animals out there, my line in the sand is beef and dairy/butter.* The cattle industry is the only one that pushed and got legal the use of hormones. When you see "hormone-free" pork, chicken, etc., it's only because the consumer doesn't know this and and it helps crank up the price. I'd honestly ditch beef altogether before I'd eat the franken beef sold in the average grocery store. But the occasional chicken, pork, etc., doesn't bother me - they still have the antibiotics, but my personal ick factor is hormones.

    *I also won't eat farm raised fin fish, but that ick is mostly the idea that I don't want my food swimming in antibiotic- and (their own) feces-laden water before I eat it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanieL View Post
    Grain finished is a marketing term. Cattle are either Grass Fed (per USDA: all their lives) or they aren't. All cattle start life on grass and then most are grain finished to get them fat faster. Also Grass Fed by USDA definition won't be raised with subtherapeutic antibiotics (which would concern me if I still had more than maybe 2/3rds or more of my life left) and hormones. Grain finished, being a marketing term, tells you nothing about either of those.

    The USDA also defines organic meat. This can be fed organic grain, which means at least the cattle aren't eating GMO products.

    JMO from my reading, but of all the animals out there, my line in the sand is beef and dairy/butter.* The cattle industry is the only one that pushed and got legal the use of hormones. When you see "hormone-free" pork, chicken, etc., it's only because the consumer doesn't know this and and it helps crank up the price. I'd honestly ditch beef altogether before I'd eat the franken beef sold in the average grocery store. But the occasional chicken, pork, etc., doesn't bother me - they still have the antibiotics, but my personal ick factor is hormones.

    *I also won't eat farm raised fin fish, but that ick is mostly the idea that I don't want my food swimming in antibiotic- and (their own) feces-laden water before I eat it.
    Well, if I purchase from Whole Foods I tend to believe when they say that there are no hormones or antibiotics and that the animals are pasture-raised, even if part of the diet is grain. That removes many of the concerns I have about feedlot cattle.

    The grass-fed beef has a 4/5 "animal welfare" rating, and there is grain-finished beef with the same rating, which is what I buy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyP View Post
    Well, if I purchase from Whole Foods I tend to believe when they say that there are no hormones or antibiotics and that the animals are pasture-raised, even if part of the diet is grain. That removes many of the concerns I have about feedlot cattle.

    The grass-fed beef has a 4/5 "animal welfare" rating, and there is grain-finished beef with the same rating, which is what I buy.
    Though I tend to not believe any company that is publicly traded, I also believe that a company like Whole Foods probably wouldn't put itself in too many positions to be busted for lying (though there was that whole "we don't sell GMO products" thing a few years back). My reason for that would be just that Whole Foods could lose real traction if people started not believing their whole squishy lovey "we are here to be a healthy alternative" schtick.

    Still, grains are not the natural food for cattle. It could be argued that feeding cattle grains is as cruel as trying to turn a cat or dog into a vegan. For health reasons only, and not taking into consideration what I think is "cruel," if the beef doesn't have hormones or antibiotics, it's better than CAFO. Add in Organic, and that's better still. Grass Fed is the ultimate.

    Mark did this post in 2011: The Differences Between Grass-Fed Beef and Grain-Fed Beef | Mark's Daily Apple which I think addresses your initial question far better than I could.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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