Choose Grass-Fed Beef
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
I've often said that the differences between organic, pastured beef and that from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is so great that you're really talking about two completely different animals.
The same applies to other animal meats, and animal products such as dairy and eggs. The Epoch Times1 recently featured an article discussing reasons to switch to grass-fed beef. I'd like to add a couple more, relating to the benefits of switching to raw, grass-fed dairy and eggs as well.
Grass-Fed Beef Does Not Promote Antibiotic-Resistant Disease
In the grand scheme of all that is wrong with modern agriculture, the unnatural transition that turned cattle, which naturally eat only grass, into grain-eating ruminants is definitely toward the top of the list.
CAFO cows are fattened for slaughter in gigantic feedlots as quickly as possible (on average between 14 and 18 months) with the help of grains and growth promoting drugs, including antibiotics.
This routine practice, which is done purely for financial reasons, has led to the current scourge of antibiotic-resistant disease, which now kills at least 23,000 Americans each year. Other growth-promoters commonly used in US beef have been banned in most other countries due to suspected health effects, both in animals and consumers.
When you eat CAFO beef, you're also consuming small amounts of antibiotics and other drugs in each bite. Organic, grass-fed standards, on the other hand, do not permit non-medical use of antibiotics. With antibiotic-resistant disease being a major public health hazard, buying organic meats is an important consideration in more ways than one.
Regularly consuming small doses of antibiotics is a surefire way to destroy your gut health, which in turn will have a detrimental effect on your overall health and immune function. Not only does it make you more susceptible to chronic disease, it also increases your exposure to antibiotic-resistant infections.
Grass-Fed Beef = Better Nutrition
Antibiotics and hard-to-digest grains radically alter the bacterial balance and composition in the animal's gut. The natural diet for ruminant animals, such as cattle, is plain grass. When left to their own devices, cattle will not graze on corn or soybeans. Just as in humans, poor gut health in animals promotes disease.
This radically altered diet also affects the nutritional composition of the meat. For example, when raised on a grass-only diet, levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) are three to five times higher in the meat compared to CAFO beef. CLA has been found to have a wide array of important health benefits, from fighting cancer to decreasing insulin resistance and improving body composition.
Grass-fed beef also tends to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. So, as noted in the featured article: "When you choose grass-fed beef, lamb or bison, you're eating meats that are more nutritious and antibiotic-free, just as nature intended."