It’s good to be at the top of the food chain. We don’t have to run away from predators that want to eat us for breakfast every day. But, there’s also a draw back to being on top. The lower level of the food chain pass along some their bad dietary “habits” to us, which can impact our health. In the case of the cow, it can also promote weight gain.
Now, I am not saying that today’s modern cows are hanging out at the 7-11 eating 3 day old hot dogs and Slurpees. They are in fact farm raised, and depending on the type of farm they are raised on and the feed that they receive, their diet just might impact our weight.
What cows eat that make us fat
The modern cow’s diet consists of a wide variety of things from soy, to corn, to animal by-products, which are often combined into a feed mixture. This feed mixture varies tremendously based upon the individual farms where the cattle are raised.
However one thing we know for sure, the modern cow does not eat the same diet as its ancestors. Historically, cows ate grass and other plants that were readily available for grazing, and not slop feed prepared with a variety of fillers.
Because of these changes, when we sit down to eat a steak, we do not eat the same type of steak that our grandfathers ate. That steak has a different nutritional quality. One of the more alarming changes was the change in fatty acids, or EFA’s. Specifically, the quantity of omega-6 fatty acids relative to the amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 ess… [Biomed Pharmacother. 2002] – PubMed result
Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1. Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established.
“I’ve been one to bang the omega-6 in feedlot beef drum, perhaps as loudly as anyone, but I think a revisiting is in order. Simply put, while the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in CAFO beef is worse than the ratio in grass-fed beef, it’s not because the omega-6 content of beef fat skyrockets with grain feeding; it’s because the omega-3 content is basically nonexistent. The absolute totals of omega-6 in grass-fed and grain-fed are roughly similar.
Grass-fed is even richer in PUFA by percentage, owing to the increase in omega-3s. As long as you’re avoiding or limiting the real big sources of linoleic acid in the diet, like seed oils, bushels of nuts, and conventionally raised poultry fat, the omega-6 content of conventional beef fat won’t throw your tissue ratios off by much (if at all). What will, however, is the lack of 0mega-3 fats in grain-fed. Eat some fatty fish or take some high quality fish oil to round it out.”
Is it the lack of Omega-3′s that make us fat?
There seems to be a correlation between omega-3s and weight loss. Rusty from Fitness Black Book provides some interesting insight into Omega-3 fatty acids and suggests that omega-3′s may increase the oxidation of fat within cells.
How Do Omega 3 Supplements Aid in Fat Loss?
Omega 3 supplements simply reduce your insulin levels throughout the day. When insulin levels are high, you can’t use fat for fuel. When insulin levels are high, your HGH levels are low. You want HGH to be high and insulin levels to be low…and Omega 3 supplements make that happen. Keeping insulin stable is also key in avoiding adult onset diabetes…it is a good idea in general. Fish oil also directly increases the oxidation of fat within fat cells.
So, it would appear that omega-3′s promote the burning of fat. Is it possible that while trying to keep feed costs low, the farming industry may also be adding to a weight gain problem? What’s the answer …
Should We Stop Eating Meat?
My personal response to this has been to supplement using fish and krill oils, which both contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only can they help you burn fat, but they also provide a myriad of other benefits and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks.