At one time, steak used to be just steak; there was no problem understanding that. Today, it is not that simple. A quick look at the butcher’s counter will show you all the kinds of cuts you never knew about, along with fancy breeds like Kobe, Wagyu, and Angus. And then, when you thought you have finally made the decision, you are faced with two types of fed beef – the grass-fed beef and the grain-fed beef. Apart from the obvious price differences, there are a lot of dissimilarities between the two.

What is grass-fed beef?

As the name suggests, this type of beef comes from cattle that have grazed on grassy meadows their complete lives. This type of beef tends to be more expensive than their corn-fed counterparts because it takes a longer time for grass-fed cattle to reach their processing weight. Without corn or grain to bulk up the diet, this method of raising cattle is much more costly for the rancher.

What is corn-fed beef?

This type of beef comes from cattle who are initially fed grass but is later fed grain or corn. This is normally done to bulk and increase the fat to muscle ratio. This particular diet adds a lot of flavor to the beef because it is almost like feeding cakes and candies to the cow. Since grains are not typically fed to cattle, a lot of preventive antibiotics are used to keep them from getting sick.

Differences in fatty acid composition

What cows consume can have a major effect on the resulting beef’s composition, particularly when it comes to fatty acid composition. Grass-fed beef tends to contain lesser fat content than grain-fed beef, which in turn means that grass-fed beef contains lesser calories.

But the overall composition of the fatty acid is also different. Grass-fed beef contains less monounsaturated fat and contains five times more omega-3 and twice as much CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, than grain-fed beef. Both varieties contain similar amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.

Grass-fed beef is considered much more nutritious

Both varieties of beef contain highly concentrated amounts of nutrients like Vitamin B6, B3, and B12. They are also rich in minerals like zinc, selenium, and iron. Overall, beef contains most of the nutrients required for sustenance.

While the differences in nutrient content are not so great, grass-fed beef contains a lot of Vitamin A and E. It also has more antioxidant content than its grain-fed counterpart.

Is grass-fed beef worth the extra cost?

It is important to understand that even grain-fed beef is healthy as well.  Until you overcook the dish, beef is considered to be a nutritious source of various vitamins and minerals to be a part of a healthy diet. In most countries, grass-fed beef is very expensive and might not be worth the cost for some people. Additionally, grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and has a different texture.

Even though grass-fed beef might contain more nutrients, there is no compelling differences between the two. The choice falls upon your taste, ideals, and preferences.