Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef – What’s The Difference?
The way cows are fed can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef.
Whereas cattle today is often fed grains, the animals we ate throughout evolution roamed free and ate grass.
Many studies have shown that the nutrients in beef can vary depending on what the cows eat.
It’s not only important what we eat. It also matters what the foods that we eat, ate.
The Difference Between Grass-Fed and Grain-Fed Cows
Most cows start out living similar lives.
The calves are born in the spring, drink milk from their mothers and are then allowed to roam free and eat grass, shrubs or whatever edible plants they find in their environment.
This continues for about 6 to 12 months. After that, the “conventionally” raised cows are moved to feedlots.
Large feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which tend to be really nasty places, one of the few things the vegans and I agree on.
There, the cows are rapidly fattened up with grain-based feeds, usually made with a base of soy or corn.
The conventionally raised cows are often given drugs and hormones to grow faster, as well as antibiotics to survive the unsanitary living conditions. The cows live there for a few months and are then moved into the factory for slaughtering.
Compare that to grass-fed cows, which may continue to live on grassland for the remainder of their lives.
Of course, this isn’t really that simple and the different feeding practices are complicated and varied. The term “grass-fed” isn’t even clearly defined.
But generally speaking, grass-fed cows eat (mostly) grass, while grain-fed cows eat (mostly) an unnatural diet based on corn and soy during the latter part of their lives.
Most cows start out on pasture, drinking milk and eating grass. However, conventionally raised cows are later moved to feedlots and fed grain-based feeds, while grass-fed cows may continue to live on grassland.