Dr. Magryta: Grain or grass fed meat?
Meat is always in the news. It is sometimes demonized and other times praised. When it comes to beef and red meats, there is one debate that has been answered, grass fed versus grain fed – which is best?
Dr. Gary Egger published a study the British Journal of Nutrition in September 2010 addressing these concerns. He looked at the differences in post ingestion inflammatory responses to modern versus traditional meat. 10 human subjects consumed either 100 grams of kangaroo meat versus Wagyu beef. He analyzed the inflammation that occurs post meal in both groups as a surrogate for meat consumption and health.
Kangaroo represents the type of meat that humans have consumed for centuries while Wagyu beef is the modern unnaturally grain fed type that is in mass consumption currently. The results showed that 1 hour after eating the Wagyu beef there is a spike in inflammatory markers in the blood stream. Conversely, the kangaroo group had no such negative response.
What does this mean for you? In simple terms, we are learning that when we mess with a natural food source we suffer the consequences of that choice. Our bodies are perceiving the grain fed meat to be abnormal from the micro biome and immune system’s perspective and reacting with inflammation. If you eat grain fed meat frequently, then you are more likely to develop a low level chronic inflammation. Depending on your genetic risks, this will worsen an inflammatory illness like coronary artery disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, etc…
In Dr. Egger’s words:
“kangaroo mimics the kind of wild meat that humans ate for thousands of years,” explains Dr Gary Egger. “It’s meat from lean animals that run around and eat grass. Wagyu on the other hand is relatively new to the food supply and an example of modern meat from modern animals that are less active and often fed on grain.”
Over the last 100 years, human micro biomes and therefore immune systems have become increasingly over reactive to the food environment. This over reaction is causing low level inflammation on a chronic scale.
Historically, our systems are hard wired to acutely inflame to handle an infection or injury and then relax. Humans have not had historical experience with chronic stress and inflammation until the recent past.
This meat data is an example of another source of chronic stress to the immune system and the body. Grass fed meats are higher in omega 3 anti inflammatory fats and antioxidants than the grain fed cousins who have pro inflammatory fats instead.
Eat natural meat the way it was intended,
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org