The Inuit Paradox
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Other Health Issues
Mad Cow Disease (BSE)


A brief primer of fat (fatty acids).

  • Saturated Fatty Acids (solid) saturated with hydrogen atoms; found in animal products, coconut and palm oils.
  • Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids (liquid), missing one pair of hydrogen atoms; found in olive oil and canola oil.
  • Poly-unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) (liquid); found in vegetable oils.
  • Trans Fatty Acids (solid), PUFA’s that are hydrogenated by manufacturers in processed foods; E.Coli in grass fed beef is much less than feedlot beef.
  • Omega 3, a PUFA found in fish oils, flaxseed and wild animals including grass fed beef.

The health benefits of Omega 3.

Omega 3 in the diet causes an increase in beneficial High-density lipo-proteins (HDL) and a decrease in deleterious Low-density lipo-proteins(LDL) and Triglycerides. Omega 3 has been shown to decrease the risks of sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrythmias and stroke. It has been shown that 1g. daily of Omega 3 significantly reduces cardiac arrhythmia and this effect reverses when it is withdrawn. The US Food and Drug administration (FDA) has recently allowed claims of decreased risk of coronary heart disease on packaging for foods high in Omega 3 isomers.

* Omega 3 may also be beneficial in depression, osteoporosis, colon cancer and macular degeneration. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder have low Omega 3 levels; dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain are made up of an Omega 3 isomer, and if Omega 3 levels are low in the blood Trans Fatty Acids may be taken up causing deformed dopamine receptors in these children. Omega 3 enriched rats have been shown to have better test performances due to a significant increase in synaptic vesicles in the brain compared with Omega 3 deficient rats.

Only 40% of the population has an adequate consumption of Omega 3; 20% of the population has un-detectable blood levels of Omega 3.

Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio in grass (pasture) fed beef 2.5/1
  in grain (feedlot) beef 14/1

An ideal diet has a ratio of 1-4 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3; an imbalance in this ratio may be a significant factor in inflammatory disorders. Grass fed beef has relatively high Omega 3 levels, 60% of the fatty acids in grass are Omega 3. A significant decrease in Omega 3 levels occurs when cattle are moved from grass pastures onto feedlots where they are fed corn, grain and other feeds. Grass (pasture) fed beef has total/saturated fat and Omega6/Omega 3 ratios similar to wild ruminants.


The Inuit Paradox

Most people are aware of the Mediterranean paradox, a diet rich in cheese and fatty meats has a less than expected incidence of cardiovascular disease due to the balancing effect of fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil and wine. The Inuit on their traditional diet have a cardiac death rate approximately half that of other Canadians although they obtain greater than 50% of their calories from fat. However, the fat in the Inuit diet is from wild animals such as whales, seals, caribou and fish, which have less saturated fat, more mono-unsaturated fat and high levels of Omega 3.

What is the fat content of grass fed beef?

Grass fed beef has less than 1/3 the fat content of grain fed beef!
and a fat content between skinless chicken thigh and skinless chicken breast!

  Mg. total fat/g.

Cholesterol mg/i 00g.
Omega3 mg/g.fat CLA
Grass fed Beef 8.21 48.7 4.31 0.32
Chicken 7.94 59.3 1.19 0.07

The considerably lesser fat in grass fed beef results in much lower calorie intake compared with other beef.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is a PUFA, a slightly altered form of Omega 6. CLA is the only naturally occurring fatty acid accepted by the National Academy of Science (USA) that exhibits consistent antitumor products. Beef, milk and dairy products are almost the only sources of natural CLA and Grass fed cattle have 5 to7 times the concentration of CLA than feedlot cattle.

The beneficial effects of CLA are shown for a broad range of experimental carcinogens. CLA may act as an anti-oxidant scavenging free radicals; CLA has been shown to decrease proteinase levels, protecting basement membranes and possibly preventing tumor spread and metastasis; it alters more than one component or stage of the metastatic cascade. Experimentally, there is a 50% reduction in breast cancer induction in mice on CLA and a 73% reduction in local tumor growth. Inhibitory effects of CLA have been shown in vitro on cell lines of melanoma, colo-rectal cancer and breast cancer. Fish oil has shown a decrease in breast cancer growth but large amounts are required in comparison to low amounts of CLA. A study in Finland showed that women with the highest levels of CLA had a 60% decrease in risk of breast cancer compared with those that had the lowest CLA levels. CLA is present in the lean parts of beef. Cold cuts and sausages prepared from fatty meat may be associated with colo-rectal cancer, but lean beef consumption may be protective. The old studies linking red meat with colo-rectal cancer were deeply flawed; there may be some linkage with burnt meat but not with rare or medium rare meat (however, it is very important to cook ground beef properly).

CLA has been shown to decrease body fat storage in animal models. (An atherogenic diet with CLA fed to mice elevated HDL and lowered triglycerides). A trial of patients on the same diet were randomized to receive CLA or olive oil; the CLA group showed minor decreases in weight, body mass index and body fat and an increase in lean body mass compared to the olive oil group. The synthetic version of CLA taken for bodybuilding can have negative side effects not seen in the natural form.


Other Health Issues

E. coli 0157, which is a fairly virulent form of E.coli, is present in greater than 50% of feedlot cattle. It is an acid-resistant bacteria resulting from the feedbot diet and may survive human stomach acid.

Grass fed cattle are significantly cleaner than feedbot animals with less hide contamination. E. coli in grass fed beef is much less than 1% that of feedbot beef, in addition the E.coli in grass fed beef is unlikely to survive the human stomach as it is not accustomed to an acidic environment.

The feedlot diet of grain and especially corn makes an animal’s rumen acidotic as opposed to the normal neutral state. Acidotic animals develop rumenitis and ulcers making the rumen more permeable and in turn causing liver abscesses. To counteract this antibiotics are given as a matter of course, even still 11% of feedlot animals have liver abscesses compared to 0.2% of grass fed animals that do not receive antibiotics. 70% of all antibiotics used in the US are for animal production (includes chicken and hogs). Animal induced antibiotic resistance has occurred for salmonella, campylobacter and enterococcus. More than 50% of chickens are tainted with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

In addition to grain, corn, straw and hay the feedlot diet may also contain liquefied vitamins, fats, protein and hormones; I will refrain from describing some feeding practices. No proven risk has occurred with synthetic estrogens commonly given in feedlots but it is banned in Europe. Fish downstream from these feedlots have been shown to have abnormal sex characteristics.

Grass fed beef has a four-fold vitamin E levels compared to feedlot beef and a two-fold difference in Vitamin E supplemented feedlot beef; one of the benefits of vitamin E is that the meat stays fresher longer and appears redder for store freezer appeal.


Mad Cow Disease (BSE)

The official scientific explanation for mad cow disease was the feeding of ruminant animal protein to other ruminants. The whole philosophy of natural or grass fed beef would preclude this from occurring; grass fed beef is pastured in the growing season and fed hay and/or silage in the winter. In addition, Starr’s Point Steers are less than 24 months, BSE has never been found in animals less than 24 months old.


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