Grassfed Vs. Grain Fed Beef
Whether it’s served as a hamburger, carne asada, or steak, beef is commonly what’s for dinner. In 2016, more than 129 billion pounds of beef was consumed across the world.
All cows are not raised equally, however, and there are two main types of beef people are choosing for dinner these days — grass-fed and grain fed.
Although cows do not consume grain in the wild, it is the go-to choice for ranchers because it fattens cows up quick and creates a well-marbled meat with a balance of fat that leaves beef juicy and tasty.
Grass-fed beef, which returns cows back to their natural diet and is said to be more sustainable and healthier for the cows, is gaining in popularity. Many say that grass-fed beef surpasses anything that grain-fed can offer.
But, what’s the difference between the two?
First, and foremost, let’s look at one of the more important aspects of this debate — health. Many bloggers, faux-scientists, and the like have maintained that eating grass-fed beef is healthier for you than consuming beef that is fed with grain in the traditional manner.
However, two studies from Texas A&M University’s Department of Animal Science that compared the effects of the two beef-types on Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease in men found that not to be the case. Men of all ages and in different health conditions spent five weeks consuming both types of beef in random trials (not sure why I wasn’t invited to participate in this study because it sounds pretty damn tasty).
The results? There is no profound difference in how the two types of beef impact your health.
With the impactful stuff out of the way, let’s move on to what many will consider a far more important question in this debate — does one beef taste better?
In 2014, HuffPost Taste conducted a blind taste test featuring hamburgers, one of the most likely preparations of beef most consume over the course of their lives. The group of editors consumed burgers made of grass-fed beef, and of traditional, grain-fed beef. Not so much as a drop of ketchup was served with the burger — just the grilled burger on a plain bun.
After the taste test, every single person who participated could clearly identify which burger was made using grass-fed beef. One editor even passionately proclaimed that the grass-fed burger took them to “Meat town!”
Many celebrity chefs and food writers have taken the grass-fed movement to heart — proudly proclaiming that when an animal is happier during its life, which is likely when they subside on grass, the resulting meat is far tastier.
Although the difference between the two types of beef are easy to see, your tastebuds will be the final decision maker. Next time you have a backyard bbq, or go out to dinner, give the type of beef you rarely, or never, eat a shot and see if you can taste the difference for yourself.