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Grass Fed Beef

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Grass Fed Beef Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 67.1 g
Calories: 192 kcal
Protein: 19.4 g
Fat: 12.7 g
Saturated fat: 5.3 g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 62 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 4.8 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B9: 6 μg
Vitamin B12: 2 μg
Vitamin E: 0.4 mg
Vitamin K: 1.1 μg
Calcium: 12 mg
Iron: 2 mg
Magnesium: 19 mg
Phosphorus: 175 mg
Potassium: 289 mg
Sodium: 68 mg
Zinc: 4.6 mg

Beef is the culinary name for meat from cows, and is the third most consumed meat in the world, being fairly ubiquitous in the cuisines of the US, China and much of Western Europe. With high red meat intake being blamed for a number of serious health conditions, most notably cardiovascular disease and cancer, it might seem odd to have beef on a list of healthy foods.

However, this article will attempt to argue that grass fed beef avoids a lot of the health issues around heavily processed meats, and that the links between red meat and serious health conditions are not as clear cut as described. Grass fed beef is fantastic source of protein, healthy fats and essential nutrients.

100g of raw grass fed ground beef contains 192 calories, but for those 192 calories, you get a lot of lean protein: 19g to be exact (38% of your Daily Value – DV). On top of that, 100g contains 33% DV of B12, 18% DV of vitamin B6, 11% DV of iron, 8% DV of potassium, and 5% DV of magnesium. Not only is the beef a great source of protein, but it also covers a large base of important nutrients: B vitamins are essential for cognition, and iron, magnesium and potassium deficiencies can all lead to lethargy, so even on a day to day basis it’s a good idea to get these nutrients in.

But there remains the question: is grass-fed really better than grain-fed? And is it any less likely to cause serious health issues? Well, firstly, yes, there is some difference between grass-fed and grain-fed animals when it comes to nutritional balance, especially in the amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

Omega-3 has a number of health benefits (see the salmon and flaxseed sections), and CLA is heavily associated with weight loss. Grass fed beef has more omega-3 and CLA than grain fed. Further, as this review states, there is evidence that grass fed is higher in vitamin A and C (precursors), and the antioxidant glutiathone. Overall, it seems clear that grass-fed has some nutritional advantages.

The question remains, then, is red meat bad for you? This question is still very much in the air, but there are one or two points in this article that may convince you to suspend judgement. A number of observational studies point toward a link between red meat intake and cancer: colorectal and breast cancer, for example.

However, the problem is that these studies do not distinguish between processed and unprocessed meat. We intuitively see a roast dinner as healthier than a big mac, for example, but these studies were simply looking at ‘red meat’ as a whole.

Correlation (between red meat consumption and cancer) does not imply causation! Significantly, one study found an association between processed foods and higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but crucially, found no such link between red meat and incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.