Grass-fed vs grain-fed beef

Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, and Larson S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal 9: 10.

Many people wonder if grass-fed beef is more nutritional than conventionally raised, grain-fed beef. A recent paper in the Nutrition Journal addressed this issue and found considerable differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. The study compares the fatty acid composition and vitamin content from seven different breeds of grass-fed and grain-fed cattle, specifically comparing loin eye cuts.

The researchers find that grass-fed beef has a lower fat content among all breeds of cattle. On average, grass-fed beef had 37% less fat than grain-fed beef.

Of particular interest is the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio in grass-fed versus grain-fed beef. As discussed in the previous post, this ratio is very important to human health. While the total amount of omega-6 is not significantly different in grass-fed versus grain-fed beef, there is a significant difference in the omega-3 content. Grass-fed beef has much more omega-3 than grain-fed beef, resulting in grass-fed beef having a much more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. The average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for grass-fed beef is 2.20, while the average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for grain-fed beef is 7.66. Continue reading

PUFAs: The importance of balancing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio

English: Atlantic salmon. Salmo salar.

We often hear about the importance of eating polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for heart health. Almost all studies agree that eating PUFAs can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. However, different types of PUFAs have very different effects on the body, some of which of are beneficial and others which are deleterious. In this article, I will go over a several studies that discuss the different types of PUFAs and how they affect health. Continue reading

U.S. Dietary Guidelines and saturated fat

Hoenselaar, R. 2012. Saturated fat and cardiovascular disease: The discrepancy between the scientific literature and dietary advice. Nutrition: 28: 118-123.

Key Terms

Meta-analysis: A study that combines the results of many studies and determines the overall conclusion all the studies.

English: schematic image of the Trimyristin: a...

This review article exams the Dietary Guidelines published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) in regards to saturated fat intake. The author chose to exam this topic due to previous criticisms of the scientific basis of these guidelines.

The USDA and USDHHS Dietary Guidelines tell Americans to “consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.” Continue reading



During my graduate studies, I realized there was a disconnect between the latest scientific knowledge in the fields of nutrition and genetics and the typical dietary advice. An often over-looked but critical role as a scientist is to inform the public, who fund our research. To narrow the gap between the “ivory tower” of academic science and the public, I began this website in 2011. Thanks for reading!