Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed and Finished Beef – Why Does It Matter

This is an article posted by the Dr. Perlmutter Team at www.drperlmutter.com 

Americans eat a lot of meat. In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture projected that the average person would consume over two hundred pounds of chicken, pork, and beef by year’s end. That’s more than half a pound daily per capita, every day of the year! While it is possible to consume an omnivorous diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle, we recommend viewing meat as a garnish or side dish rather than the focus of your meal. The perfect plate is full of colorful, above-ground leafy vegetables and healthy fats, and if you choose to eat meat, then a three-to-four ounce serving of meat. However, it’s very important to remember that not all meat is created equally.

One of the most important factors in determining the overall quality of meat—especially red meat—is the dietary patterns of the livestock that produced it. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense: the food an animal consumes is used by their body to grow and develop, and, ultimately, becomes the very food that we consume. Feeding cattle a nutrient-poor diet will, in turn, produce a nutrient-poor food source, compared to cattle fed a natural, nutritious diet.

As it turns out, the age-old adage “You are what you eat” applies to cattle, too!

Grass-Fed and Finished vs. Grain-Fed Cattle
A significant portion of meat consumed in Western countries comes from animals raised on unnatural, grain-based diets in massive industrial feedlots, with the aid of antibiotics and growth hormones. This approach to animal husbandry produces meat that is significantly higher in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Because inflammation underpins the pathogenesis of so many of the diseases we face, sourcing high quality protein is critical in the context of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Generally speaking, bovine dietary patterns can generally be split into two groups: grass-fed and grain-fed. It’s important to note that grass-fed does NOT necessarily mean that the cow is grass-finished. You should be wary of beef that can make the “grass-fed” claim, but not “grass-finished”. We explain the nuances of these definitions in this blog post.

In the United States, all calves generally begin their lives the same way, regardless of whether or not they will ultimately end up producing grain- or grass-finished meat. For the first seven months of their lives, they subsist on a combination of their mother’s milk and the grass and plants available to them in their immediate environment. Between seven and nine months old, however, industrially-raised cattle are moved to enormous feedlots, where they are kept in confined stalls and hastily fattened with soy- or corn-based feed. In dire straits, some farmers have even resorted to supplementing what grain they can afford with stale candy to lower their feed costs. Grain-fed cows are also usually pumped full of medications, including antibiotics and growth hormones, to maximize the profitability of their eventual slaughter.

On the other hand, grass-fed and finished cows spend their lives foraging for the grass, plants, and edible flowers that surround them in open-range pastures, as they did for centuries before the advent of industrial farming. Because these cows are eating and roaming as nature intended, they do not require growth hormones and antibiotics to thrive and survive like their grain-fed counterparts. Furthermore, these cows live far more humane and environmentally-friendly lives than their industrially-raised brethren. While many industrial farmers will challenge the notion that grass-fed cows have a lower environmental impact than their grain-fed counterparts, the reality is that raising grass-fed cows requires fewer antibiotics and harmful agricultural chemicals, and does not create the massive concentrations of waste that a feedlot produces. The fact that these cows live more humane and environmentally-friendly lives does not necessarily impact the nutritional value of their meat, but we believe that these factors should absolutely be considered in a decision about which type of beef to consume.

What Difference Does It Make?

Why does grass-fed and finished really matter?

In short, the meat sourced from grass-fed cows is far more nutritious, beneficial, and environmentally friendly than the meat sourced by grain-fed cattle, which has skewed nutrient profiles and is full of harmful chemical by-products from the industrial cattle-rearing process. Grain-fed cows produce meat that is both dramatically higher in inflammation-producing omega-6 fats and deficient in healthful omega-3s. This is doubly harmful considering the ratio of these compounds is actually more important than their absolute levels in the blood. Generally speaking, Americans consume a disproportionate amount of omega-6s, relative to omega-3s. Furthermore, because grass-fed and finished cows are not exposed to the suite of hormones and medications that their grain-fed counterparts are, the meat they produce doesn’t contain the toxic remnants of these unnatural components from the industrial, grain-based process.

One powerful study conducted in 2006 using Australian cattle, sought to determine the impact of three different feeding systems—grain-finished, long-term feedlot rations, and grass-finished—on the resulting meat’s omega-3 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid composition. Researchers ultimately found that the grass-finished cows had significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid when compared to either of the grain-based feeding systems. These two fatty acids play very important roles in brain health, metabolism, and the likelihood of developing cancer.

Another, more recent, study echoed and expanded on the earlier findings of the Australian team. Looking at beef specifically grown in the United States, researchers analyzed meat samples across multiple states and found that meat from grass-fed cows had significantly higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, mirroring the Australian study’s results. However, this team went one step further, determining that grass-finished beef also contained more carotenoids , trace nutrients, and saturated fat, while carrying no more cholesterol or polyunsaturated fats than grain-fed cows.

When it comes to choosing meat, it is critically important to consider the source. The food that livestock eat dictates their relative health, and this ultimately travels up the food chain and determines what health benefits—or detriments—we absorb when eating that meat. When it comes to choosing between grain- and grass-fed beef, the choice is clear!

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Podcast: Why Cutting Grains Can Save Your Life

I love it when two of the people I listen to their podcasts separately, come together to be a guest on the other’s show!  I enjoyed listening to this conversation and I think you will to.  If you’re on the fence about eating good fat, wait until you hear how Dr. Gundry likes to eat his eggs!!

In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Gundry sits down with New York Times List #1 Bestselling author, four times over, Dr. David Perlmutter. During their conversation, Dr. Perlmutter reveals that, despite the success of his book “Grain Brain” and many others, he is certainly not without his fair share of critics. He also highlights the many struggles of spreading his anti-grain, anti-sugar medical stance in a world that still very much abides by an ‘everything in moderation’ attitude.

So if you’re one of the people who prefers to learn the inconvenient truths – and act on them before it’s too late – this episode of the podcast is for you!

Link To Podcast: Dr. Gundry Podcast – Why Cutting Grains Can Save Your Life

5 Hemp Oil Benefits For Health & Wellness

I was happy to see this article on Mark’s Daily Apple.  Mark has a way of laying things out in a way that is easy to follow and he doesn’t get too far off the beaten path to where most readers get lost.

I have been learning a lot about CBD/Hemp Oil products.  My research has led me to a company called CTFO.  One of the main reasons I landed on CTFO was the quality of their products.  The FDA does not regulate CBD/Hemp products today, so you have to be careful about what you are getting.  One of the most important things to look for is the absorption rate.  What good is the product you are buying if the absorption by your body is low.  CTFO has a patented 10X Pure CBD Oil product that dramatically increases the absorption rate, which will only provide your body with more of the healthy benefits outlined in the article below.

Link to Article: Mark’s Daily Apple – 5 Hemp Oil Benefits

5 Reasons Why Vegetable Oil is Worse Than Sugar

One of the first steps you take to live a Primal lifestyle is to do a pantry purge.  Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to run to your pantry now and get your trash can and empty your shelves, although some people do indeed do this.  Everyone has their own level of urgency and commitment.  For now, I just want to share with you this straight forward article that touches on one of the key things we teach as Primal Health Coaches.

You will hear me talk a lot about getting your diet right first and foremost, even before talking about your exercise.  80% of your body composition is based on your diet.  This article concedes to the fact that we know sugar is not good for our health, but it goes into detail as to why vegetable and other seed oils are even worse for us.

The 5 reasons the article goes into further detail on are:

  1. It Can Cause Weight Gain
  2. It May Diminish Brain Function
  3. It Can Harm Your Ticker
  4. It’s Filled With Carcinogens
  5. It Can Cause Inflammation

Throw Out the Gnarly Nine:

  • Canola Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Soy Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Rice Bran
  • Grapeseed Oil

Restock your shelves and fridge with healthy fats like:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Grass-Fed Butter

Take some time and start to read labels on the foods you are buying and consuming.  One of the biggest ones to look at are the salad dressings you are buying.  You will see that almost all of them start with Canola Oil and then Soy Oil.  I eat a lot of salad and when I do, I either use extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or I use the Primal Kitchens salad dressings that are made from 100% Avocado Oil.  These are delicious products and are considered good fats and they’ll help to make you feel satiated!

I welcome any and all questions or comments you have. Good luck on your journey to better health!

Link To Article: 5 Reasons Why Vegetable Oil is Worse Than Sugar

Targeting Inflammation with CBD

It is certainly clear that our most pervasive chronic conditions share a common feature in terms of their underlying cause. Whether we are talking about coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, or even Alzheimer’s disease, what current medical literature reveals is the powerful role that inflammation plays in these and other common conditions.

Ultimately, the main issue with higher levels of inflammation that manifests as damage to tissue is the fact that when inflammation has been turned on, it increases the production of damaging free radicals, a situation we call oxidative stress. When oxidative stress is running rampant, damage occurs to our proteins, and fat, and even our DNA.

Over the years there has been extensive research looking at how increasing the availability of antioxidants might help to protect our bodies against these damaging free radicals. But recognizing that the upstream instigator of this problem, to a significant degree, is inflammation, allows us to redirect our targeting in order to protect our body’s tissues.

I have written extensively about how reducing dietary sugar and carbohydrates, while at the same time increasing dietary consumption of good fats along with dietary fiber, goes a long way towards reducing inflammation. Emerging research now demonstrates that cannabidiol (CBD) has significant potential in terms of limiting inflammation and downstream effects in terms of free radicals as well.

In research published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, scientists at the University of Mississippi medical center described not only the complexities and challenges posed by trying to specifically target oxidative stress in a variety of disease states, but also the potential benefits of using CBD to accomplish this goal.

Unlike THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the “high,” CBD is a non-psychotropic derivative of the plant. It was first isolated 1940 and ultimately chemically characterized in 1963. Recently, research has demonstrated that CBD has wide ranging activity in terms of reducing inflammation and the damaging effects of free radicals. Specifically, CBD modulates the function of the immune system. Research would indicate that overall, the effects of this modulation seem to be quite positive.

CBD, for example, has been demonstrated to be specifically effective in dealing with various types of pain. This activity is also thought to represent a manifestation of CBD working as an anti-inflammatory much as over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are used for typical aches and pains.

Further, many of the health-related issues associated with obesity are a consequence of increased inflammation. CBD is being explored extensively in relation to obesity in hopes of reducing some of these important health consequences.

In the conclusion of the research publication, the authors stated:

Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress “feed off” each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given its anti-oxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells…

The research in terms of medical application of CBD is expanding dramatically, and with good reason. As a natural, plant derived anti-inflammatory, CBD joins other familiar players in this arena like turmeric which is derived from curcumin, as well as ginger and many others.

Moving forward, you can be certain that CBD research will continue to expand, and likely validate it’s efficacy across a wide spectrum of health issues. As always, I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest science here.

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Link to article: https://www.drperlmutter.com/targeting-inflammation-with-cbd/