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Why Grass-Fed Beef Is Healthier Than Grain-Fed: A 2-Part Series

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grass-fed beef

Not all meat is created equal.  When people look at grass-fed beef, they assume it’s the same as grain-fed.  One of the most common questions about the Bulletproof Diet is, “Can I eat organic grain-fed meat instead?”

You can eat whatever you want, but grain-fed meat is not Bulletproof like grass-fed meat.  It looks similar, tastes (somewhat) similar, and smells the same, but the truth is:

Grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef are two completely different foods.

Grass-fed beef isn’t a luxury item – it’s real meat.  Factory meat has the wrong fatty acids, contains obesity-causing hormones, and usually has mycotoxins (very nasty biotoxins formed by mold in cattle food and meat processing). Grass-fed meat is in a league of its own.  Eating grass-fed meat is one of the reasons the Bulletproof Diet works.  By the end of this two-part series, you’ll know why.

Steers (castrated bulls) can’t make nutritious meat if they aren’t fed the proper ingredients.  If a steer isn’t fed nutritious food, it won’t become nutritious food.  There is no magical transformation from stale gummy bears (part of the feedlot diet) into vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.  Feeding cattle junk food turns them into junk food.  Ruminant animals are meant to eat grass – not grains, stale bread, cereal, chicken feathers, or city garbage (I couldn’t make this up if I tried).

Besides health benefits, grass-fed meat is better for the economy, the environment, the farmers, and the animals.  Each article in this series will focus on one study proving that grass-fed meat is healthier than grain-fed.  We won’t talk about the lack of hormones, antibiotics, or other fun chemicals agribusiness puts into your meat.  I’m going to focus on what grass-fed meat does have – nutrition.  There are many more studies we’ll be writing about in the future, but for now, we’re going to concentrate on the most recent and relevant.

The studies are in chronological order so you can see the evolution of research on this topic.  Studies build on each other, and it’s important to see how the scientists interpreted data to build their conclusions.

Read on to learn more about the incredible benefits of grass-fed meat. Click on one of the links below to go to each article in the series.

Grass-Fed Meat vs Grain-Fed Meat: Part 1

Grass-Fed Meat vs Grain-Fed Meat: Part 2

Some background research for this post may have been conducted by Bulletproof staff researchers.

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By Dave Asprey

  • My local Whole Foods had a one-day special on grass-fed ground beef last Friday for $4.99 per pound (normally, $8.99 per pound). I stocked up on the max I could get! I stored most of it frozen but I’m still wondering what the proper way to store grass-fed beef is longer term.

    • Anonymous

      Are you asking for alternative ways to store fresh meat, other than freezing??
      I’d love to know if anything has been invented that doesn’t involve huge amounts of preservatives.

      • G. Scott Turner

        check out the “Survival Podcast” host Jack Spirko. Look for the episode with Brandon Shearer (?) Also Brandons vids are excelent and are at Anatomy of Thrift.com

    • Hey Bob,

      Smart move t stock up, you’ll sale a lot of money that way. Freezing is the only good way to store meat long term. You can make jerky, but it’s lower in nutrients and, well, it’s jerky…

      Frozen meat retains all of it’s nutrient qualities and taste. I can’t think of a better way.

      We have a chest freezer where we put a ton of meat. If you don’t have one, it might be worth the investment. Other than than, just try and clear room in your current freezer.

      Good question.

      -Armi

    • Jacob Haskins

      Vacuum-pack it first, to avoid freezer burn. They sell at home kits at Costco. We use them often in Alaska to freeze fish.

      • Great tip man. My neighbor does the same thing, and all the meat I buy already comes vacuum packed. Excellent thinking.

        -Armi

  • Do you plan on reviewing the difference between grass fed and grass finished? I have heard that there is a significant difference between the two ( with fully grass fed, being much better). Also is there a way to tell from the packaging ( i.e the meat from whole foods)?

    • Hi Lee,

      We have several article on that exact topic. We’ll also be releasing an article on exactly how to pick your meat and what all the labeling claims really mean. You’re right, grass-finished is much better, but there isn’t an easy way to tell from labeling. We’ll say more in the article.

  • People should be informed why grass fed is more expensive so hope you cover that (bovines get fatter sooner on grains vs grass so it’s an economic incentive on the part of the rancher)

    • Carlos, excellent comment,

      You’re half right, but there are some flaws. First off, there are ways to make buying grass-fed meat MUCH cheaper than conventional meat. I’m receiving an order of 170 pounds of grass-finished meat for $3.5 a pound.

      Also, getting cattle fatter is not always an economic thing to do. Many people discard the fat (as they should from conventional meat) which is a waste. There are also ways to make grass-fed cattle just as fat with smart farming practices. It’s estimated that the extra fattening costs the meat industry around 2 billion a year.

      We have several article covering this topic, and I hope you stick around. I think you’ll enjoy them :)

      -Armi

      • 5markadams5

        Armi, please share your beef source!!!

        • I’ll do something even better – I’ll show you how to find your own local source;) It depends on where you live, but chances are you’ll be able to find one.

          -Armi

        • Josh M

          Im in Los Angeles, any recommendations?

        • bestbeefever.com

  • Ryan1

    Hey Dave, I have just found your page and am desperately trying to catch up. Really amazing stuff. Do you have any articles on anxiety or panic attacks. Its something that Ive been fighting and have been actively trying to hack. By the way I left mercado some hate mail for you. haha

  • Caleb

    Can’t wait for this series, some things I hope you’ll cover:

    1. The benefits of grass fed VS grass finished. From some research I’ve done, grass finished seems like almost a good compromise.

    2. The source of your super cheap grassfed bulk buy Mr. Legge :)

    3. The ways to make the grass fed fatter like you said.

    Looking forward to it!

    Later,
    Caleb

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  • Hey, thanks for the information on grass fed vs grain fed beef. I was wondering when the next set of articles might come out. I have found many locations in Oregon to find grass fed animals but would like to know more on the subject!

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  • John

    I live just outside of Paris, France and the climate is such that grass doesn’t grow year round. What do farmers do in other similar climates if they are committed to raising grass fed beef?

    • David Homoney

      That is what hay is for.

    • wordsforthewise

      In the future, I envision grass and other greens being grown hydroponically, and cows being farmed in massive skyscrapers or underground. Hydroponic, factory farmed cows, with optimized nutrition and health benefits.

  • Tom

    I wish I could afford grass fed meat but it’s very expensive to get mail order and the local stores rarely carry it. Am I doomed to being fat? I like grass fed better, and sometimes the supermarkets here carry a grass fed Australian beef but many times they don’t. Also, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get grass fed pork or pastured chicken since supermarkets don’t carry them. Mail order is very expensive. Can I still lose weight without this stuff? Maybe in the future this will be more of an option but right now it’s nearly impossible for me.

    • Luke

      I dont know where you live but I live on a small island in the Mediterranean and I can find pastured, eggs, lamb and butter and I am anything but rich, my income is probably way below the poverty line in the US but I chose to eat food that isnt going to kill me in the long run and its not that expensive.Not as expensive as your doctor bill in the future.

      I think that if you change your attitude towards all of this being IMPOSSIBLE and do a little research you will find everything you are looking for at better prices and much closer than you think. and no, your not doomed at being fat unless that is the only reality you believe in.

      • tsanga

        where r u from ill id love to get that produce from your area

      • Walterose

        Luke,
        I am from Jamaica. Poor small island farmers almost always feed their animals on free growing grass and forage. They don’t or cant afford grain and drugs. So, of course its going to be easy and affordable to meet your food needs on a low income in these environments. I am SO HAPPY that I can now buy grass fed fat from The Meat Hook, in Brooklyn NY.
        – Walterose

        • Luke

          Hi Walterose,
          you are talking about a tropical climate with high rainfall where grass lands are plentiful and easy to maintain… I live in a Mediterranean climate with low rainfall and we get it all in two goes, basically in sep-oct and mar – apr. So, no…It isnt easy to find grassfed meat here and its anything but cheap. There is only 1 guy on our island that does grass fed beef because it is very difficult here to get good pasture.

          My point wasnt that it is easy… totally the opposite. I have had to search for a long time to find good produce here. Most food here isnt produced locally, almost everything is imported.

          My original point to Tom is that you will always find excuses for why you cant do something, BUT living in most of the US it should be relatively easy to get your hands on some kind of grass fed quality products at an affordable price, eggs for sure. And once again, I would rather pay more and get a good product than pay less and be eating something that will poison me in the long run

        • Walterose

          Hi Luke,
          I see. Well, you just blew up my biased perspective on the nature of islands. Thank you very much! Where are my rose colored glasses when I need them?
          I waited a few years for a local, affordable resource to pop here in NYC. My steadfastness has paid off. Keep the faith Tom.
          Walterose

    • RedMeatState

      DEMAND is going up all the time so it wont be long!! Our local Smith’s (Kroger) has grass fed beef and it’s roughly 11 to 14 $ a lb. for rib eye and ny steaks. ground beef is cheaper and we get that at Trader Joe’s. But it’s a lot cheaper than doctors and medicines that don’t work!

  • Thanks! Where’s the rest of the series? :/

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  • Paula D.

    I just came back from a 15 day trip in Uruguay. Both my teenage daughter and I came back home to the USA looking totally “deflated” (if that is the correct term). I am not talking about weight here, we haven t used a scale. It is the way we look. Slender.
    We ate more and more often, after all we were on vacation!
    I find that when I go to Europe or South America, we get the same result.
    Conclusion: After having the same kind of meals, we realize that eating local grown produce, grass fed beef, dairy products made with milk of grass fed cows, wild caught fish….back to basics. Turning to less processed foods, replacing bleached items (sugar, salt) for their counterparts (pure crystal salt, raw sugar), gives us more energy and makes us look much better.
    Granted….the strawberries are not gigantic and bright red, the apples are not polished, the oranges have “imperfections”. But who needs artificially big, color coated, polished, manicured and pumped with who knows what produce, that make them look so picture perfect? Not to mention that they only have looks but not taste.
    Have you ever looked at the endless list of ingredients in so called “healthy” cereal?????? the one we so proudly feed our kids….
    Now we are back and ….where should we turn? All those items in the USA are much more expensive than what we normally find in the supermarket.

  • Wolfgang Oehry

    It’s just too absurd that “real” or normal grass fed Beef is more expensive than “man helped” one. One the first, the cows just wander around and eat natural grass, as they have done for thousands of years, on the second, people (manpower) have to be involved in the feeding process, special grains have to be measured and feed, special infrastructures are required, etc. etc. Have we gone nuts, or is the bottom line (financially) really the only means of measure we apply? There’s another bottom line we need to be aware of: People’s health!!!

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  • A P

    One thing he doesn’t address, and I would like to know is… how are farmers “killing” the animals and does this have an impact on how bulletproof the meat ends up being. Please address this Dave, as I’m sure many would like to know. Thanks

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