What if I told you that it is possible for you to lose anywhere from 3.5 to 7 pounds in a year without changing a single meal in your typical week and without adding exercise to your daily routine? If I told you that you can eat just as many pounds of beef in a year and lose weight simply by changing how that beef is farmed? Do I have your attention now? It’s a common misconception that beef is bad for you. Beef is not bad for you. Beef is in fact quite good for you. It’s the kind of beef you eat that matters. I posted last week a little bit about the corn industry and why I have serious issues with factory farmed beef. Today I just wanted to share some interesting facts with you about the quality of corn raised beef versus grass fed beef through the simple lens of weight loss. Just looking at our waistbands (ignoring ecology, biology and economic factors) the case for grass fed beef is far from lean.
Commercial beef has on average 8.5 grams of fat per 3 oz serving, commercial chicken has 2.5g when you average the white and dark meat. How many grams of fat, on average, do you think grass feed beef has per 3 oz serving:
- 8.5 grams
- 5 grams
- 4 grams
- 2.5 grams
If you answered D you would be correct. Grass fed beef, according to a 2002 study by the Journal of Animal Science, has as much fat as a commercially farmed chicken. White meat will be a little less, dark meat actually much more, but on the whole that chicken has as much fat as your grass fed cow. Okay great but what does this mean really in your diet? Pardon me while we do some quick and dirty math to explain what these fat grams really mean.
A single hamburger patty from your typical McDonalds – according to their website – is 3.5 ounces and contains 9g of fat. Okay my math says that should really round up to 10g but let’s go with 9. At a ratio of approximately 3:1 that same burger, if made with grass fed beef, would contain only 3 grams of fat. Sweet! But…what does that really mean?
A single gram of fat is 9 calories. That means you are getting 81 calories from fat in that McDonalds patty. If you replaced that beef with grass fed, you would be getting only 27 calories from fat. That’s a difference of 54 calories in the one burger. Assuming you eat a single hamburger patty once a week…that’s 2800 calories in a year. A single pound of fat is 3500 calories. With the assumption that you eat only a single hamburger fast food patty a week, that’s almost a pound you could lose in year from simply switching from corn fed to grass fed beef. And that’s a low estimate.
On average ¼ of Americans consume at least one fast food/meal out in a week. Various reports show that of those meals the average fast food consumer will eat 4 hamburgers in a week. Doing that math it breaks down to 3.5 pounds you could lose in a year without changing the content of your diet—just by changing the quality of the beef you are eating and again that’s assuming your burger is a simple ¼lb patty. Are you eating half pound burger? Now that’s 7 pounds in a year. That’s ignoring any other beef products you may be consuming.
This shit adds up.
And those fats you do get? A 1998 study in the Journal of Animal Feed Science and Technology showed that the “good fats” needed in our diets versus saturated, make you big fats, are much higher in pastured animals than feedlot animals. How much? Try as many as 10 times more omega-3s in pastured, true free-range hen eggs versus factory farm, crammed in cages hens. 10 times more. This applies to beef too. In fact grass fed beef contains the ideal ratio of the heart-healthy omega fatty acids. It’s perfectly balanced for our bodies.
But wait…there’s more! Grass-fed beef is higher in cancer fighting fatty acids, in vitamins B and E as well as various minerals including calcium. The milk from grass-fed beef can be as much as 4 times richer in vitamin E and this is because the grass that they eat, versus the corn, is that much more nutritious for the animals and therefore, for us.
So to sum up by switching to grass fed beef you could do all the of following without changing a single thing you actually eat:
- Lose 3 to 7 pounds in a year (on average, for many this number would go up)
- Increase your omega fatty acids – good for your heart
- Increase additional healthy fats shown to reduce cancer risk
- Increase your intake of calcium
- Increase your intake of vitamin e
Now I know, I know. Grass fed beef is expensive right? Fine. Here’s a recipe using grass fed flat-iron steak. I was able to buy 8 ounces (2 servings) at whole foods for under 8 dollars. Flat Iron is a really great cut of meat for a simple steak salad. It’s no Filet Mignon or New York strip but when you slice it and pan sear it with the right seasonings it’s just as delicious. It’s superior to ribeye that’s for sure. Pair it with some greens and a perfect steak horseradish dressing? You never knew getting skinny tasted soooooooo good.
Skinny Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing
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