IS GRASS-FED MEAT A HEALTHIER OPTION?
Q What is grass-fed meat and why is it considered to be a healthier option to commonly available meats?
A When a cow that is raised for its meat is given a diet rich in greens (its preferable staple diet) we get grass-fed meat.
Several studies have shown that grass-fed meat is much better than grain-fed meat. The former has less fat and the quality of fat is better, too. Grass-fed meat has higher amounts of good saturated fat, conjugated linoleic acids and omega-3. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is also better balanced in grass-fed meat.
Animals such as cows and goats are meant to eat grass. But much conventional meat in the market is from animals fed grain, stale bread, hormones and antibiotics, so that they grow bigger faster. A few years ago there were reports that after corn prices in the US soared, the market for alternative feed rations for beef and dairy cows also skyrocketed. Dairy producers, who were scrambling to keep their animals fed, began including cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, dried cranberries… virtually anything they could get their hands on that would replace the starchy sugar content traditionally delivered to the animals through corn.
Some meat producers have been reported to feed even city garbage and chicken feathers to the cows. Eating meat of such cattle results in obesity-causing hormones and toxins entering our food chain. To avoid this, when you eat meat, try going organic. Choose grass-fed meats, free-range organic eggs, white fish and salmon and free-range chicken.
RASHI CHOWDHARY is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop