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Grass-Fed Beef Vs Organic Beef

Posted Sep 26 2010 6:00am

Last week, I went to my local health food store to pick up some grass fed beef for dinner. I had a monster burger craving (what else is new?), but I didn’t have time to drive 45 minutes to Whole Foods . That is reserved for the weekends ;)


Low and behold, they didn’t have grass-fed beef. I actually think I might have shed a tear. However, they did have “100% organic beef”, so I picked that up thinking it would be grass fed. Keywords there are “you would think”.

After doing a little research, I realized that grass fed beef and organic beef are two completely different things. Let’s take a look at the differences:


  • Raised on open pastures.
  • Allowed to graze on fresh, growing grass.
  • Lower in both total fat and saturated fat.
  • Higher amounts of folic acid, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
  • Has a more favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, with about twice the amount of omega-3 as omega-6. In a traditional Western diet, the omega 3:6 ratio can be as high 1:10 or 1:20, when it should be around 1:4. That is a problem.
  • Contains high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Organic Gain-Fed Beef

  • In order to satisfy the requirements of being USDA Organic to display the official USDA organic label, strict guidelines must be followed. Organic beef must be free of antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic hormones, additives, preservatives and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
  • Even though it is subject to strict standards, it still isn’t the healthiest.
  • Grazing animals such as cows were not meant to eat grains (especially corn). They are fed grains so that they will grow at a faster rate. Grain feeding alos tends to produce a fattier, flavorful cut of meat.
  • Cattle raised on grains have been shown to have great changes in their intestinal flora, greatly increasing the number of potentially harmful E. coli bacteria.
  • The Omega 3:6 ratio in grain fed cattle has been shown to be as high as 1:20.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that just because something is labeled “organic”, doesn’t mean that it is nutritious. Sure it is better to load your body with natural ingredients, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best choice. Have you ever seen those organic cookies at the store? I love when people think that they can eat as many as they want because they are “organic”. In my opinion, healthy food is something that is loaded with nutrients.

So what about the difference in taste?

Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and less fatty than grain-fed beef. It has less marbling, which is why ranchers typically switch their cattle over to grains towards the end of their life. A grass-fed steak or burger , when cooked properly, will be just as juicy, tasty, and mouthwatering as it’s grain fed counterpart. Trust me, I can prove it .

When you first try grass-fed beef, you will probably taste a difference. However, what you are tasting is what meat should taste like, because this was how it was meant to be raised. Once you try it, you won’t go back.

What kind of beef do you prefer?

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