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Letter: Grain vs. grass

Gary Rothman’s letter on the studies that show a link between eating meat and heart disease is an interesting, but it only tells a small part of the story. It is critical when talking about meat to differentiate between grain-fed meat and grass-fed meat, and between tank-raised fish (grain feed, hormone injected) and wild-caught fish and chicken, pork, etc. Grain-fed meat is indeed dangerous to the human body in more ways then one, but meat, in its traditional natural form, is critical to a healthy mind and body. Our bodies are evolutionarily designed to eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, but the food and its source that make up that diet is critical. Our brains need large amounts of Omega 3 fats, which mostly come from animal and fish meat. What we don’t need is too much Omega 6 fat. Grass-fed beef has the recommended ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats of 3:1. Grain-fed beef has an unhealthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 ration of 20:1. The same holds true for eggs, the ratio for range-fed is 1.5:1 and for industrial-raised eggs it is 20:1.

Eating grain-fed beef is detrimental to the human body, the cows (E.Coli bacteria can only occur in grain-fed cows) and the environment (it takes about 284 gallons of oil to raise the corn for one steer). Eating grass-fed beef or other naturally raised animal meat is healthy for the human body and the environment. Extensive research has shown that hunter-gathers of the past had no history of heart disease yet had meat as a staple food in their diet. The same holds true for the few remaining groups of hunter-gathers, no heart decease.

There is, of course, more to health than just eating grass-fed meat — think exercise and lots of colorful, high-fiber vegetables and fruit, reduced salt, reduced sugar, reduced grains, reduced oils, etc. — but there is mounting evidence that the right meat (i.e. grass-fed animal meat, wild game, or wild-caught fish — ideally from the Pacific or Alaska to avoid mercury issues) plays an important role in preventing coronary heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, autism, Parkinson’s, ADHD and more.

STEVE HOWLAND

Shelburne Falls

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