I’ve talked about the general impacts of eating cattle on society, but this week I want to look into more direct impacts of the changes we have made in producing beef on individuals who aren’t necessarily victims of health disorders such as coronary heart disease, obesity, or type II diabetes. Generally, when we talk about corn-fed vs grass-fed we are talking about non-organic vs. organic beef.
70% of the cows we raise are forced to eat corn to reduce our surplus, speed up their growth rate, and increase efficiency in production. However, in terms of long-run, this method is not efficient at all. Not only is it less environmentally friendly and produces more industrial waste, but individuals eating grain-fed cattle receive several direct health impacts.
Corn fed beef vs. Grass fed beef
-Corn-fed cattle receive antibiotic injections.
-Corn-fed cattle are injected with hormones. This can upset the balance in top-predators such as humans, leading to reproductive disorders, cancer, and other health impacts.
-Corn-fed cattle are confined in feedlots to prevent them from exercise and using energy so they grow quicker. This creates more fat and marbling in meat.
-Corn-fed cattle provide reduced nutritional values. Their meat has significantly more fat. Grass-fed cattle have significantly more vitamins, minerals, omega-3, and Conjugated linoleic acid(CLA). Omega-3 is known to help lower blood pressure, depression, arthritis and others. Studies have discovered that CLA can help suppress tumor developments in rats, and possibly in humans.
These impacts affect anyone who consumes corn-fed meat. You can typically find grass-fed beef at a local farmer’s market, at Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and other organic restaurants. Studying the production of beef has helped me realize that there are other important factors to maintaining a healthy lifestyle other than simply eating vegetarian. Consuming organic foods, especially from local farmer’s markets is just as important as limiting meat consumption.