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Monday, December 19, 2011

6 Reasons to Eat Grass-Fed, Pastured and Wild Animal Products over their Grain-Fed Brethren: A Case for Eating Healthy Animal Products: Part 3

And now the third and final piece to this series...

If you at any point want to order some grass-fed meat for yourself you can get some delivered to you by clicking the banner on the right hand side of my page labeled EAT GRASS FED BEEF. I get a lot of my food from there. Great company.

If you missed part 1 you can find it here:

Part 2:

Here are the cliff notes for all of you busy bees out there:

Grass fed beef has less of the saturated fatty acids that increase cholesterol.
- There are different types of saturated fats
- Certain types of saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and some do not
- Grass fed beef contains less saturated fatty acids that affect cholesterol levels.
- 30% of the fat from grass-fed beef is oleic acid, the heart healthy fat found in olive oil
- Grass-fed beef contains less saturated fat and less total fat then grain fed beef
Grass fed dairy products contain more vitamin K2.
- K2 is a form of vitamin K
- K2 is only found in animal products and fermented foods
- K2 decreases your risk of heart disease and decreases the risk of fractures in the elderly
- K2 is highest in animals that are allowed to free range on grass.

5. Grass fed beef has less of the saturated fatty acids that increase cholesterol.
There is a lot of controversy right now about whether or not saturated fat causes heart disease. The literature also goes both ways. This topic is kind of like the elephant in the room as far as nutrition topics go. The general idea is that higher levels of saturated fat eaten correlates to increased blood levels of cholesterol. High blood levels of cholesterol are theorized to cause heart disease. This is a very simplistic view and not all types of saturated fats actually raise cholesterol (19).

Some types of saturated fat can preferentially increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) like lauric acid, found predominantly in coconut. Some types of saturated fats raise cholesterol more then others. Cows contain the saturated fats palmitic acid, myristic acid and stearic acid. Myristic acid has been shown to increase cholesterol levels as well as palmitic acid to a lesser degree. Stearic acid on the other hand is neutral as has been shown to have no influence on cholesterol levels (20). Contrary to popular belief, fat from animals is not entirely saturated and contains small amounts of polyunsaturated acids as well as a hefty amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (5). 30% of the fat from cows is oleic acid, the same healthy monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil (5). Oleic acid has been shown to decrease cholesterol, lower blood pressure and decrease risk of stroke (5). CLA is a polyunsaturated fat found in beef fat as well with health benefits discussed earlier (5).

Grass fed beef has less palmitic and myristic acid and more stearic acid then its grain fed counterpart (5). This means that grass fed beef should be less influential on cholesterol levels. Grass fed beef has less fat in general because grass fed cows tend to have less intramuscular fat (5). This means you are getting less saturated fat per serving of beef and the fat that you do eat has less of an effect on your cholesterol levels. If saturated fat does actually affect your risk for heart disease, eating grass fed over grain fed beef should decrease your risk for heart disease. In reality, the fat is where many of the beneficial nutrients discussed previously are stored including CLA (5). This along with the heart healthy oleic acid beef fat contains could make you rethink trimming all the fat from your steak.
6. Grass fed dairy products contain more vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 is a form of vitamin K that has been getting some very interesting attention lately. This vitamin should not be confused with its brother vitamin K1 which is present in certain vegetables. K2 has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease (21) as well as reducing fracture occurrence in the elderly (22). Unfortunately vitamin K1 does not have these same health benefits. Vitamin K2 is found in cheese, eggs, butter, liver, beef, chicken liver and fermented foods like natto. Vitamin K2 is believed to be highest in animals able to range freely on the pasture and eat the grass and plants around them, although there is no research I have found t support this position. Dr. Weston A. Price popularized this idea.

Whoa! Information overload. I think it helps to look at some published research when you are making the decision to decide what is good and what is bad in your own diet. Conventional wisdom may tell us that meat is bad but a lot of research says the contrary. Hopefully this is some food for thought and can help give you some direction with your nutrition. I don’t believe that marketing, politics and rumors should make up the majority of what we know about health. Lets try and take a more scientific approach!

Remember, the source of your food and what your food eats has everything to do with your health as a result.

Disclaimer: Consult your physician before embarking on any major changes in your dietary regime. That's it! I greatly appreciate any and all feedback from everyone.

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