Sunday, August 27, 2006

Real Food

1. I finally found a local dairy farm that was willing to sell me raw milk. It's rich stuff, even when you skim off the cream (which I did this morning to make some fresh butter). I asked the farmer if he thought the raw milk was safe to drink. His response went something like this: "Well, the government claims that there's a risk of E. coli. But you ever eat at a salad bar? The risk of E. coli is higher there, because the lettuce might not have all of the debris washed off. Plus, people are sneezing, coughing, licking their fingers, picking their noses."

A good point: I'm not positive that he's right about the relative risks here, but it's rather amazing that the government doesn't outlaw salad bars, given all of the less harmful things that it already bans.

2. I'm a bit confused about the health value of grass-fed meat. The typical article on grass-fed meat claims that the meat is lower in saturated and trans fats:
Mesquite's ground beef is 65% lower in saturated fat and its New York strips are 35% lower than conventional beef, as measured by the USDA. "Any feedlot-fattened animal has a much higher level of saturated fat than a forage-fed steer," says Atchley.
But then I found this very recent study, which claims to have found a result that's nearly the opposite:
A recent Texas Agricultural Experiment Station study indicates cattle fed longer on certain diets will produce beef with more of the "good" kind of fat.

Dr. Stephen Smith, Experiment Station professor of animal science in College Station, said the study showed the longer cattle were fed corn, the more monounsaturated – and less saturated – fat they produced. Monounsaturated fats are currently viewed as being healthier than other dietary fats, Smith said.

* * *

But what about completely grass-fed cattle? They have leaner carcasses, he said.

"The problem with (grass-fed cattle) is the U.S. consumer isn't accustomed to the flavor," Smith said. "It's very strong, and it's something we're just not accustomed to. And the other is that the fat that's produced from grass-fed cattle is higher in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."
So which is it? I don't have time to look into all of the scholarly literature that may exist on this issue. But I'd like to see a more comprehensive look at the issue.


Blogger The Mommy Blawger said...

Dr. Mercola touts grass-fed beef as having a better Omega 6/Omega 3 balance:

"There are many kinds of fats in the body... After isolating these fats scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. This is especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 3:1."

So it's not just a saturated/unsaturated fats issue.


10:53 PM  

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