3

votes

Enough PUFA in beef to even worry about Omega 3?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 08, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I know that the ratio of O6:O3 is "worse" in CAFO beef than in grass fed beef, but is there really enough PUFA in beef to worry about the total daily intake? It seems the best idea is to eliminate foods high in O6 (PUFA seed/plant oils, certain seeds and nuts, SAD foods) rather than worrying about getting O3 from grass fed beef.

I see a lot of other benefits with grass-fed beef, however the O3 argument doesn't seem as important.

Here's the graphic I'm talking about http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9mNHNOMqaqM/SfDcJWRbLjI/AAAAAAAACRg/cvjLcPdaLpA/s1600-h/Omega6-Omega3GraphFix.jpg

Here's another that I just found. At first glance it seems to jive with this idea that there really isn't much PUFA in meat. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data2i.html

Any input is appreciated.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I have felt the same way since I started eating paleo a year ago. I take omega 3's and consume grain fed meats and have never felt better. I think there is way to much emphasis on grass fed meat personally.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 10, 2011
at 07:58 AM

Saw it, but most other people think that grassfed tends to lead to less SFA, even the linked-to article says "the advantages of meat from grass-fed animals are that the content of total fat, SFA or trans-fatty acids in the meat are not simultaneously increased(49)" (although the very first thing they reference says the opposite).

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on January 10, 2011
at 03:25 AM

The study cited by Supernaut above found that the grass-finished cuts of beef had more SFA than the grain-finished.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 10, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Just listened to Jimmy moore's new best of 2010 new interview with Kurt Harris and he has a quick two cents about this issue.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:55 PM

here's one of eades' comments on grass vs grain fed beef. http://www.livinlowcarbdiscussion.com/showthread.php?tid=1080

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:51 PM

amen to that...

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:11 AM

I shoot for grass fed beef but will eat grain fed with no worries. Lamb though, I will say that I will pretty much only eat totally grass fed. This is for flavor purposes though. With beef, sometimes I like grass fed more and sometimes grain fed more but with lamb, I really think once you go 100% grass fed you won't go back. Very different and much better I've found.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I don't doubt that at all. But it seems the total amount of PUFA in beef makes worrying about Omega 3 pointless.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:36 AM

@Ben - I didn't mean to imply they're magic. 1 oz. contains a good amount of Magnesium (78mg), potassium (134mg), and Vitamin E (7.4mg). I would think the magnesium alone would be worth it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 08, 2011
at 08:58 PM

macadamia nut oil is the only nut/seed oil i use in the kitchen. delicious and excellent lipid profile. @Jimbo: what are the benefits of almonds and walnuts that outweigh anything? Theyre just another nut, they have no magic. @Tim, although my primary reason is the n6-load i always feel lighter with no nuts and seeds in my system, too. I just feel like they never (in the amounts most people eat them) sit too well in the belly.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 07:00 PM

All nuts and seeds? I see they're high in O6, but I've read that the benefits of Almonds and possibly walnuts outweigh the O6:O3 arguments. I usually go for Macadamia nuts though.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I usually get USDA Organic beef from Costco rather than spend about 35% more $$ on grass-fed meat to avoid a lot of possible side affects from CAFO meat.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on January 08, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Certainly binges of nuts could add to the omega 6 intake! Could it negate the good done with eating grassfed meats? Nuts in abundance these days beyond our past availability? Hmmmm? just pondering. I've cut out nuts entirely and my guts thank me for it!

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 05:33 PM

I read a suggestion on Mark Sisson's blog that if you can't afford grass-fed or Organic meat, to cook it in grass-fed butter. That way you can still get the Vitamin E and CLA. Thanks

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 05:31 PM

I'm a big fan of Dr. Eades blog, I'll have to look out for that. It makes total sense though. Thanks for the info.

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9 Answers

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 09, 2011
at 12:54 AM

I prefer grassfed mostly for the more healthful vitamin balance and less hormones and chemicals. Plus there are probably many things we don't yet understand that are in a healthy meat from a healthy animal vs that from a sick bloated animal. But remember organic does not always mean chemical free and neither does grassfed. There are many loopholes in the 'organic' label. However, I feel that 100% grassfed animals are more likely to be healthy and less likely be sick and combine the grassfed with organic and I think overall, the meat will be more healthful. However, personally, I do not worry too much about the omega 3 ratio as, like you said, I just don't think there is enough PUFA there to make a slight ratio issue worth the bother of concern.

2
1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on January 08, 2011
at 09:38 PM

For what it's worth, a recent study (cited on Mark's Daily Apple and by others) does suggests that Grass-finished beef produced higher amounts of plasma and platelet long-chain n3 PUFAs than grain-finished beef.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I don't doubt that at all. But it seems the total amount of PUFA in beef makes worrying about Omega 3 pointless.

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 08, 2011
at 06:29 PM

I would say no. While many respected paleoers on here do insist on grassfed, I've never knowingly eaten a grassfed animal (notwithstanding the fact that even conventional beef in the UK is fed grass an awful lot of the year) and feel completely comfortable with the 2g of omega 6 I get from my 500g of relatively fatty beef most days. One point of contention is that NutritionData (and the charts you link to look identical) suggest that grassfed meat is substantially less balanced than typically suggested. Indeed there's virtually no difference between the meats according to those measures. This has been dismissed as "frankly impossible" here with this source (from a purveyor of grassfed meat) suggesting that grassfed contains even more omega-3 than omega-6. In any case, if omega-6 is all you're concerned about, then conventional beef is still far better than the finest pork, chicken or turkey. Any nut or seed apart from macadamia nuts will be worse than these.

Of course, eating non-grassfed means that I don't get hardly any omega 3 from it, so I eat wild tinned salmon for the rest of my protein and/or take fish oil. Most of my omega 6 comes from the butter (2.7/100g)that makes up most of my calories, in fact. Because of the butter I don't feel I'm missing out on CLA, vitamin K2 etc either. Similarly, it would make no sense to choose grassfed on the basis of getting less SFA, while I'm getting most of my calories from butter, which contains substantially more SFA relative to both MUFA and PUFA than meat. Grassfed, being leaner and higher in PUFA might be better for Cordain type paleos therefore, but for high SFA paleos, very much less so.

One thing that might be a factor that would recommend 'quality' meat would be the avoidance of assorted other chemicals being pumped into the animal, but this would be a reason to go organic, not grassfed per se; notably I've not seen any definitive evidence or argument either way, for there being a major health issue here.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I usually get USDA Organic beef from Costco rather than spend about 35% more $$ on grass-fed meat to avoid a lot of possible side affects from CAFO meat.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 10, 2011
at 07:58 AM

Saw it, but most other people think that grassfed tends to lead to less SFA, even the linked-to article says "the advantages of meat from grass-fed animals are that the content of total fat, SFA or trans-fatty acids in the meat are not simultaneously increased(49)" (although the very first thing they reference says the opposite).

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on January 10, 2011
at 03:25 AM

The study cited by Supernaut above found that the grass-finished cuts of beef had more SFA than the grain-finished.

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 08, 2011
at 05:39 PM

i completely agree. while i strive for grassfed as much as possible i always rest and eat easy knowing that as long as you don't eat any vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds you're prolly handling the n6 and n3 issue pretty well. Avoid restaurants and youre doing even better.

I have always thought that big nut and seed consumption is something that should prolly be avoided, at least for those who are not already in very good health. Its just too much of an n6 load, especially is those people are still eating sporadic veg oils, going out to eat, etc.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 09, 2011
at 01:36 AM

@Ben - I didn't mean to imply they're magic. 1 oz. contains a good amount of Magnesium (78mg), potassium (134mg), and Vitamin E (7.4mg). I would think the magnesium alone would be worth it.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 07:00 PM

All nuts and seeds? I see they're high in O6, but I've read that the benefits of Almonds and possibly walnuts outweigh the O6:O3 arguments. I usually go for Macadamia nuts though.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on January 08, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Certainly binges of nuts could add to the omega 6 intake! Could it negate the good done with eating grassfed meats? Nuts in abundance these days beyond our past availability? Hmmmm? just pondering. I've cut out nuts entirely and my guts thank me for it!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 08, 2011
at 08:58 PM

macadamia nut oil is the only nut/seed oil i use in the kitchen. delicious and excellent lipid profile. @Jimbo: what are the benefits of almonds and walnuts that outweigh anything? Theyre just another nut, they have no magic. @Tim, although my primary reason is the n6-load i always feel lighter with no nuts and seeds in my system, too. I just feel like they never (in the amounts most people eat them) sit too well in the belly.

1
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on January 08, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I recall Dr Michael Eades of Protein Power fame (a font of paleo and nutritional knowledge: http://twitter.com/DrEades and http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/) has replied in comments of various blog posts (paraphrasing) that "....once a person removes the industrial grain/seed oils and grains/processed foods from their diet, the omega6/3 balance of grass fed or feed lot meats is just not worth thinking about.."

I have no specific post to refer you to, but have seen this sort of comment more than a few times when he replies to folks with concerns about grass fed vs. feedlot meats. No matter the source, meat is always going to trump grains, legumes, or other third world protein and fat sources.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:55 PM

here's one of eades' comments on grass vs grain fed beef. http://www.livinlowcarbdiscussion.com/showthread.php?tid=1080

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 05:31 PM

I'm a big fan of Dr. Eades blog, I'll have to look out for that. It makes total sense though. Thanks for the info.

1
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on January 08, 2011
at 04:31 PM

No, there's hardly any difference. I think one of the main differences is that the level of nutrients like CLA and vitamin E is higher in grassfed than cafo. Don't stress it if you have to get regular beef.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on January 08, 2011
at 05:33 PM

I read a suggestion on Mark Sisson's blog that if you can't afford grass-fed or Organic meat, to cook it in grass-fed butter. That way you can still get the Vitamin E and CLA. Thanks

0
Fb804e0a6d310e61b32ecf18e005bbc3

on January 10, 2011
at 02:37 AM

The issue with n6 and n3 is the ratio. You need them both but in the proper balance. Grass finished ruminant meats (beef, goat etc.) are balanced.

If you want a therapeutic dose of fat then think dairy foods since they are concentrated. Whole milk is good, butter is better and cheese is almost medicinal.

The idea that you must feed grain to fatten beef is false. If you are getting lean and tough beef from your supplier then you might consider buying from a more skilled grower. There are a lot of uninformed opportunists selling range cattle that are too old and too thin so that they can cash in on the grass fed fad. But there are also those who know what they are doing and can finish cattle on pasture that are young,tender and fat.

0
C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:59 PM

Over time I think there's enough difference in the fat profiles of the two to have an impact on your health.

I buy grass-FINISHED beef from a local farmer. Last time I got two of the biggest flank steaks I've ever seen, easily 4-5lbs each. They're more like roasts. It's delicious and the price is a lot less than the "grass-fed" stuff at Whole Foods. I eat a LOT of this beef. This guy's rib-eyes are the best I've ever had.

But I also travel a lot and you just can't be too picky on the road otherwise you'd starve, so I'll eat pretty much any kind of meat, especially at those Brazilian BBQ places. I know it's all corn & soy finished but it's better than industrial chicken or farmed fish.

0
15e684f6f716f88c99f641098a6e06ca

(922)

on January 08, 2011
at 08:53 PM

I can't speak with authority on this either way but I did happen across this post a few days ago which refers to (but doesn't link!) a study that found large differences in Omega 3 composition between groups that ate grass-fed vs grain-fed beef.

http://chriskresser.com/blog/grass-fed-vs-conventional-meat-its-not-black-or-white/

As for myself, I usually buy grass-fed ground beef because $4/lb at Costco doesn't hurt much and grass-fed beef jerky from my local farmer's market is also the only source for simple additive free jerky that I know of. Otherwise I usually go conventional beef for steaks and ribs and such. But I will tend to get grass-fed butter (kerrygold), new zealand lamb and sometimes even grass-fed heavy cream... The stuff tastes better to me and doesn't cost so much more for the amount we use.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:11 AM

I shoot for grass fed beef but will eat grain fed with no worries. Lamb though, I will say that I will pretty much only eat totally grass fed. This is for flavor purposes though. With beef, sometimes I like grass fed more and sometimes grain fed more but with lamb, I really think once you go 100% grass fed you won't go back. Very different and much better I've found.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on January 09, 2011
at 02:51 PM

amen to that...

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