The truth about grass-fed beef

It's no secret that most doctors say that we should be cutting down on the amount of red meat in our diets. That's left some people who still can't resist the occasional steak or juicy burger to try switching to seemingly healthier varieties of red meat, like grass-fed beef — but is grass-fed beef actually healthier? 

The main difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is all in the name. Grass-fed cows graze on grass and other foraged plant matter, and are sometimes finished on clover to help give their meat a sweeter taste. Grain-fed beef is usually fed a mixture of corn, soy, and other substitutes (via Chicago Steak Company). 

Is grass-fed beef healthier than regular beef?

If you're not overly concerned about animal welfare or the environment, chances are you're thinking of switching to grass-fed beef because you've heard it's healthier. It turns out that, in a lot of ways, that's true (via Healthline). 

Studies have shown that grass-fed beef is higher in antioxidants than grain-fed beef, and that it contains more of the vitamins A and E. Grass-fed beef also tends to be lower in fat and calories, and also has more omega-3 fatty acids — up to five times as much as grain-fed beef — and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). 

Diets high in these fatty acids may help protect against cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and coronary artery disease (via National Institutes of Health). 

Does grass-fed beef taste better than regular beef?

When it comes to whether grass-fed beef tastes better than grain-fed beef, it really all comes down to a matter of preference. 

Grain-fed beef tends to have a slightly sweeter taste and more marbling, which can also mean it's more tender and juicy when it's cooked.

Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, with a mineral-like, gamier taste than grain-fed. 

However, some taste-tests have shown minimal difference between the taste and texture of grass-fed and grain-fed beef, so if you're interested, you might want to do a little taste test of your own to see which you prefer (via Cook's Illustrated).