Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet and health questions.
Want to know how celebrities are getting their fabulous post-baby bodies? And, if their diet plan is right for you?
This week’s question…
“I know Jessica Biel, Matthew McConaughey and other big celebrities have been rumored to be on the Paleo Diet. And yeah, I’m not going to lie, I would kill for their hot bods! So when I incorporate more meat in my diet, are there any benefits to buying grass-fed over conventional meat?” — Melanie G., Columbia, S.C.
I understand your confusion, but trust me, you are not alone in the hunt for the healthiest meat!
Between labels and misleading marketing lingo plastered all over packaged meat in the supermarket, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The USDA oversees all meat labelling, but there are so many different types of labels, it’s hard to decipher grass-fed from hormone or antibiotic-free to all natural or organic. Just saying that was mouthful, let alone understanding what they all mean! Read on for a quick and easy way to navigate the meat label maze.
Conventional beef comes from cows eating corn and grain, which is not fit for humans to eat and is more caloric than their natural grass diet. In addition, they could be pumped with antibiotics or hormones. The tricky part is that conventional meat can be labelled “all natural” because it is barely processed and has little additives - so don’t be fooled! This is the beef most of us ate as kids, is served at most restaurants and is considered safe to eat, but may lack all of the benefits of grass-fed or organic beef. It is safe to say - conventional meat is not my first choice.
There are two sub-categories within conventional beef. The first is “no hormones”, meaning just that - no hormones were given to the cows to make them stronger or larger, or to produce more milk. The second category is “no antibiotics” meaning that the animal was not given antibiotics to fight disease or infection.
Now on to the good stuff. Grass-fed beef is just what it sounds like! It comes from cows that eat mostly grass and other foods that are naturally eaten by cows without the antibiotics or hormones! The meat is higher in antioxidants and healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids that help to reduce risk of developing blood clots, inflammatory disorders, cancers, heart disease and high blood pressure. Organic beef comes from cows that are allowed to roam the pasture, are given fresh air, water, and sunshine, and eat 100% organic feed without any antibiotics or hormones. The USDA requires the production and processing of organic beef to meet environmental and ethical standards for sustainability.
If your wallet can afford it, I recommend grass-fed and/or organic beef (you may find “grass-fed”, “grass-fed organic” or “organic”), which are loaded with antioxidants and omega 3s without antibiotics or hormones. Remember, lean meat provides a rich source of iron and protein. Research shows that lean red meat, trimmed of visible fat, does not increase cardiovascular risk factors. So, now that you are a smart carnivore, best of luck on your next hunt for the healthiest meat!
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman