Grass-fed meat promises to revive health benefits
Farming and consuming grass-fed red meat might just save the planet.
This form of farming was completely sustainable, nutritional therapist Nora Gedgaudas told farmers and visitors at the World Angus Forum in Rotorua.
It is also the predominant method of farming livestock in New Zealand.
"Grass-fed meat may just be the most healthy and sustainable food source on Earth," she said.
Much of the earth's landmass was unsuitable for agriculture, yet it could support grazing livestock while providing nutritionally dense food, she said.
Grass-fed beef was vastly nutritionally superior to grain-fed beef. It had a higher omega-3 content and was also loaded with minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and conjugated linoleic acids, which reduce the risks of cancer, obesity and diabetics.
This is because the health of the meat is directly related to the health of the animal.
She questioned whether the feedlot systems used overseas to finish cattle was the future of food production because many of the nutritional advantages seen in grass-fed beef were lost.
Gedgaudas is an expert in Paleolithic nutrition and runs a private practice in the United States.
She is the author of the book, Primal Body, Primal Mind, which looks at diet and health from an evolutionary point of view.
She argued that humans would lead healthier lives by adapting Paleolithic principles.
Studies showed that meat and animal fat made up 90 per cent of the diet of early humans and this form of food played a critical role in the human diet and brain development, she said.
The human genetic expression had not changed significantly over the past 200,000 years and humans were genetically and psychologically hunter- gatherers.
Humans were designed to get their protein from animal-sourced foods, which were of huge nutritional importance.
This changed with the emergence of modern agriculture. Humans had progressively lost about 10 per cent of brain volume since the adoption of an agricultural lifestyle about 10,000 years ago, Gedgaudas said.
It also resulted in a change of human diet, where the consumption of high energy, fat rich foods of animal origin were replaced by less energy-dense and more health compromising grains, which human were not genetically adapted for. In modern times, 90 per cent of the world's food supply is provided by 17 species of plants which were entirely new to the human diet, she said.
The No 1 source of calories in the United States diet was fructose corn syrup and the No 1 source of fat calories was soya bean oil.
"That's not fat folks, that's frankenfat, so today Western society is essentially committing carbocide."