Grass Fed Beef or Grain Fed Beef

Hey everyone,

There’s been a lot of hype in the last few years around the differences between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef; and determining if the nutritional difference is really that great.

I got approached by Cannings Free Range Butchers to share this information in a sponsored post, and given my stance on this topic, I was more than happy to present the science on this for everyones benefit.

So what is the actual difference?

Well for starters, grass fed beef is more expensive..we all know this; However it is for good reason; it’s genuinely better for your overall health, the wellbeing of the animal, the environment, and the economy too.

I know, a lot of big calls here, so let’s delve a little deeper…

grass fed beef

Your Health

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) there are many advantages that grass-fed beef has over grain fed; With its main strengths including:

  • Having a better fatty acid composition
  • Increases in antioxidant content
  • Enhances in the total omega-3 on a g/g fat basis

Several studies have also suggested that grass-fed beef elevate cancer-fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD); and on top of this the studies have also shown grass-fed beef to elevate the precursors for the antioxidants Vitamin E and A.

  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is also found predominately in grass-fed beef. Some of you may have seen on my Instagram me discussing CLAs and how they are great for our health.

CLA’s have been found to play a role in the pathways associated with the prevention of:

  • Heart disease
  • Some cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure, and
  • Inflammation

grass fed beef nutrition

Overall, when compared to grain-fed beef, grass fed beef is the much healthier option; it is considerably less fatty than grain-fed beef, it helps to keep your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio healthy, and it is full of antioxidants that help prevent certain health issues.

Further reading on this can be found at:


The Well Being of the Animal

Conventionally raised cattle will usually graze on a pasture when they are a calf and then they will move into a feeding lot when they are ready to be rapidly fattened up with a grain based feed and then butchered.

Here are some of the disadvantages of beef that has been conventionally raised:

  • Fed a diet of majority corn and soy grains
  • Often given antibiotics to keep it ‘healthy’ in its unsanitary feedlot living conditions
  • Often dosed with growth hormones to reach its full growth sooner

Alternatively, grass-fed cattle are on pastures, drinking milk and eating grass, from birth to the end of their lives.

Here are some of the health benefits of grass-fed beef:

  • Live on pastures from birth to death
  • Have a very natural diet of milk and grass
  • Free from hormones and antibiotics


As you can see, when it comes to the health benefits of grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed beef, the grass-fed beef comes out on top.

They live a very natural life in open pastures without excessive drugs and hormones.

It appears the antibiotics and hormones that are given to grain-fed beef in feedlots don’t always end in the stomachs of the cows either; therefore whatever beef we consume, we are actually ingesting the same antibiotics and hormones that the grain-fed beef have been ingesting.

grass fed beef

The Environment

Whilst eating beef is never going to be the most eco-friendly activity, by switching from grain-fed beef to grass-fed beef you will still be making a difference – The fossil fuels it takes to harvest the corn and soy for the feed that grain-fed beef consumes is staggering.

Growing grass is easier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the production of corn.

As you can see, in summary, grass-fed beef has a confounding amount of benefits over grain-fed beef for the animals, the environment, and us as the consumers.

grass fed beef

I hope you found this round up on information useful, and that it has helped shed some light on the differences between grass-fed vs grain-fed beef.

For further information on Cannings Free Range Butchers who serve the finest, high welfare meat and seafood from some of Australia’s best producers, including:

Grass fed Tasmanian beef, free range pork from the Darling Downs, saltbush grazed dorper lamb from
South Australia, free range chicken from Bendigo and fresh seafood from the south and east coasts of Australia, feel free to head over to their site.

Until next time,

TD x

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in NYC. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, barre and HIIT class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea on how to make this world a healthier and better place.