For years obesity experts have been warning us against
saturated fat found in red meats, but when the animals are
raised exclusively on grass, these fats can actually help
you lose weight, strengthen your immune system, and yes,
protect you against heart disease.
Fat soluble vitamins are vital for human health, and
vitamins A, D and K2, (a vitamin discovered by Weston A.
Price), are found most plentifully in the fat of grass-fed
animals. These vitamins help to prevent heart disease. They
also support the function of the endocrine system, and are
needed for the absorption of calcium. Calcium has been
shown by a number of recent studies to help people lose
weight. Children need these vitamins to build strong bones
Weston A. Price pointed out that:
"It is possible to starve for minerals that are abundant
in the foods eaten because they cannot be utilized without
an adequate quantity of the fat-soluble activators
Back in the 1930s when Price analyzed the vitamin and
mineral content of the 'primitive' groups that he studied,
and compared their diets to that of the 'modern' diets of
industrialized countries, he found that traditional people
ate as much as 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins
as we do, and far more calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and
If Price were still with us, he would tell us that the
current fat-soluble vitamin content of the 'Standard
American Diet' is now even worse. After all, he made his
comparisons before the popularity of low-fat diets, and
before the existence of factory-farms.
One of the protective foods that Price brought back from
traditional societies to use in his own practice was
high-vitamin butter from cows eating fresh spring grass. He
used spring butter as a medicine to reverse dietary
deficiencies in his patients. He also prescribed plenty of
raw milk from grass-fed cows, just as Sir Robert McCarrison
did when he left India to start his own practice in
England. These foods were medicinal because of their high
fat-soluble vitamin content, and the conjugated linoleic
acid (CLA) in the butterfat.
Raw milk from grass-fed cows is now difficult to buy in
the United States, and few people still make their own
butter, but CLA can also be found in beef, if the animal
has been raised naturally.
CLA is a powerful antioxidant and has been proven to
protect against cancer in laboratory animals. It also
promotes the development of muscle instead of fat, and it
makes body fat burn faster.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Take
Control of Your Health, CLA is found primarily in
grass-fed beef and dairy products and cannot be produced in
the human body. CLA is produced naturally by the bacteria
that live in the rumen of ruminant animals like cattle,
sheep, and goats.
Research has shown that grazing animals raised strictly
on their natural diet of grass can have levels of CLA
hundreds of times higher than animals raised on grain
feeds. Also, a study done by the Department of Animal
Science at Southern Illinois University in 2003 found that
beef finished off on soybean oil reduced the amount of CLA
produced by ruminant animals. In fact, feeding animals
anything other than their natural food reduces both their
health and ours.
Recent human studies have shown that volunteers who were
given CLA supplements lost a significant amount of body
fat, and bodybuilders who were given CLA were able to lift
far heavier weights, indicating the growth of muscle mass.
This substance is so important for weight loss and cancer
prevention that factory farmers are now trying to find ways
to artificially force confined, grain fed animals to
produce the CLA that is created naturally when the animals
are raised on grass.
The loss of this special omega-6 fat from our food
supply may be one of the reasons why the obesity rate began
to skyrocket in the 1960s and 70s, shortly after most
family farms and ranches gave way to giant factory
It isn't just the missing CLA that makes grain-fed meat
less healthy. Factory-raised animals also have less of the
important omega-3 fats than naturally raised animals. The
healthiest proportion of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats is
one to one - even portions of both. Since factory raised
animals don't have this healthy balance in their fat, the
American Heart Association is probably right - saturated
fats from confinement raised animals are not good for us.
But this is only true if we remember that they're
talking about the saturated fats found in factory-raised
Fortunately, there are still small ranches and farms
that raise healthy, grass-fed beef cattle. It takes time to
find them, but the health benefits for you and everyone in
your family makes it worth the trouble.