Is Grass-Fed Beef Better than Grain-Fed Beef?

No doubt, you’ve seen grass-fed beef pop up in your local grocery store. And it’s often a bit pricier per pound than the typical grain-fed ground beef in the meat case. So what’s the difference? Is grass-fed beef preferable to grass-finished or grain-fed? And is it worth the extra price per pound?

The demand for grass-fed beef is growing, and here’s why.

In a nutshell, smart consumers are realizing that grass-fed beef is higher in vitamins A, B, E, and other antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. And it’s often FREE of the antibiotics and growth hormones fed to cows to maximize growth.

“You Are What You Eat” Applies to Cows, Too

It should be no surprise that what cows are fed determines the quality of the meat they provide. Grass-fed cows graze on a natural diet of grass as they have for centuries. Grain-fed cattle may start out on a grass-fed diet, but are moved to a feedlot (commonly about 7-9 months of age) where they are “finished” and fed soy- or corn-based diet to fatten them up.

Nutrient Content of Grass-Fed Beef

Not only is there a difference in fatty-acid composition, but there is also a significant difference in the composition of the fatty acids themselves. Grass-fed beef contains as much as 5x the Omega-3 as grain-fed beef and 2x as much conjugated linoleic acid as grain-fed beef.*

One grass-fed strip steak (214 grams or roughly 7.5 ounces) delivers:

  • 49 g protein
  • 45 mg omega–3 fatty acids
  • 3 mg Riboflavin (16% DV)
  • 3 mg Niacin (72% DV)
  • 4 mg Vitamin B6 (70% DV)
  • 28 mcg Folate (7% DV)
  • 7 mcg Vitamin B12 (2.7% mcg)
  • 5 mg Pantothenic Acid (15% mg)
  • 139 mg Choline
  • 3 mg Betaine
  • 19 mg Calcium (2% DV)
  • 4 mg Iron (22% DV)
  • 49 mg Magnesium (12% DV)
  • 454 mg Phosphorus (45% DV)
  • 732 mg Potassium (21% DV)
  • 118 mg Sodium (5% DV)
  • 7 mg Zinc (52% DV)
  • 45 mcg Selenium (64% DV)

Does Grass-Fed Beef Help Prevent Cancer?

*The roughly double amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in grass-fed beef as compared to grain-fed beef is an important distinction. CLA is unique not only can it help to reduce fat, build muscle, and increase energy and endurance, it is one of the only anticancer nutrients derived from meat.

A study conducted on women who consumed high amounts of CLA-rich foods had roughly a 60% lower risk of breast cancer than those who had little to no CLA in their diet.

In addition, when you have cancer, your goal should be to REDUCE exposure to dangerous toxins while increasing your consumption of nutritious, healthy foods. Grain-fed cows are often given antibiotics and growth hormones to maximize growth, and you – the end consumer – are ingesting these drugs secondhand. When selecting any meat at your local grocery, look for the certification that the animals were not given antibiotics and growth hormones.

Does grass-fed beef taste different than grain-fed beef?

Yes, it can. The grains that cows feed on often result in meat with a slightly sweeter taste. Beef from grass-fed cows tastes similar to game meat.

Are certain cooking methods preferred?

When grilling any meat, it is advisable to marinate it first in an acidic base in order to reduce the AGEing (Advanced Glycation End Products) effect, a serious though often overlooked health concern. According to Ann Louise Gittleman, author of Radical Longevity, these AGE glycotoxins can dampen the body’s natural defenses and wreak havoc on organs and tissues, the very last thing you need when battling cancer.

Fortunately, the solution for cooking high-quality protein is simple and amazingly delicious. For Ann Louise’s extensive guidelines for optimal health and sample longevity recipes, check out her book, Radical Longevity.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Worth the Extra Cost?

Yes, in our opinion. Have you priced the cost of cancer lately?

You can make a simple yet remarkably effective investment in your health this very day by selecting quality food and avoiding known toxins that are prevalent in today’s culture.

How to Know If You’re Purchasing Authentic Grass-Fed Beef

If you live in an area where are fortunate enough to deal with local farmers you know and trust, then by all means trade with them. If not, when shopping at your local supermarkets, look for the stamp of approval by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), an organization that is designed to guarantee animals were never fed grains and did not receive antibiotics or hormones.

Lastly, let your grocer know what you prefer! How else will they know what consumers really want? Your voice counts.

About The Templeton List

Created by James Templeton, a 30+ year Stage 4 Melanoma cancer survivor, the Templeton List is part of his lifelong dream to give back and lend a helping hand to cancer survivors and to anyone desiring to increase or maintain their good health. James experienced first-hand the challenge of finding quality restaurants and food sources when traveling.

The successful CEO of Uni-Key Health Systems and founder of the Templeton Wellness Foundation, The Templeton List was developed to help anyone easily find trust-worthy, vetted healthy restaurants all across America. Read more about our 5 Star Rating System here!

You can read about James’ personal journey as a cancer survivor in his best-selling book, I Used To Have Cancer. For more information about The Templeton Wellness Foundation, visit You’ll find inspiring stories of other cancer survivors along with video interviews with top experts from around the world in the integrative and functional medicine arena as they bring the latest leading-edge health and healing information to the holistic treatment and prevention of cancer.


U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Food Data Central, Agricultural Research Services.

C.A. Daley, A. Abbott, P.S. Doyle, G.A. Nader, S. Larson, “A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef,” Nutrition Journal (2010 Mar 10); 9:10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10.

L.D. Whigham, A.C. Watras, D.A. Schoeller, “Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007 May); 85(5):1203-11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1203.

K.W Lee, H.J. Lee, H.Y. Cho, Y.J. Kim, “Role of the conjugated linoleic acid in the prevention of cancer,” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2005);45(2):135-44. doi: 10.1080/10408690490911800.

L.J. den Hartich, “Conjugated Linoleic Acid Effects on Cancer, Obesity, and Atherosclerosis: A Review of Pre-Clinical and Human Trials with Current Perspectives,” Nutrients (2019 Feb); 11(2): 370. doi: 10.3390/nu11020370.

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