Grass Fed Versus Grain Fed Beef: Fatty Acid Profiles, Antioxidant Content and Taste

Growing consumer interest in grass-fed beef products has raised a number of questions with regard to the perceived differences in nutritional quality between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef, albeit with variable impacts on overall palatability.

Grass-based diets have been shown to enhance total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3) FAs on a g/g fat basis. While the overall concentration of total saturated fatty acids (SFA) is not different between feeding regimens, grass-finished beef tends toward a higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic FA (C18:0), and less cholesterol-elevating SFAs such as myristic (C14:0) and palmitic (C16:0) fatty acids. Several studies suggest that grass-based diets elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries. Fat conscious consumers will also prefer the overall lower fat content of a grass-fed beef product. However, consumers should be aware that the differences in FA content will also give grass-fed beef a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef. In addition, the fat from grass-finished beef may have a yellowish appearance from the elevated carotenoid content (precursor to Vitamin A). It is also noted that grain-fed beef consumers may achieve similar intakes of both n-3 and CLA through the consumption of higher fat grain-fed portions.

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Selenium: An Essential Micronutrient

Selenium is an essential trace element for humans and animals, and selenium deficiency is associated with several disease conditions such as immune impairment. In addition, selenium intakes that are greater than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) appear to protect against certain types of cancers. In humans and animals, cell proliferation and death must be regulated to maintain tissue homeostasis, and it has been well documented that numerous human diseases are directly related to the control of cell cycle progression and apoptosis. Thus, the elucidation of the mechanisms by which selenium regulates the cell cycle and apoptosis can lead to a better understanding of the nature of selenium’s essentiality and its role in disease prevention. This article reviews the status of knowledge concerning the effect of selenium on cell cycle and apoptosis.

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Vitamin B12 In Health And Disease

Vitamin B12 is essential for DNA synthesis and for cellular energy production. This review aims to outline the metabolism of vitamin B12, and to evaluate the causes and consequences of sub-clinical vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, mainly due to limited dietary intake of animal foods or malabsorption of the vitamin. Vegetarians are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency as are other groups with low intakes of animal foods or those with restrictive dietary patterns. Malabsorption of vitamin B12 is most commonly seen in the elderly, secondary to gastric achlorhydria. The symptoms of sub-clinical deficiency are subtle and often not recognized. The long-term consequences of sub-clinical deficiency are not fully known but may include adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes, vascular, cognitive, bone and eye health.

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Vitamin B6: Functions, Complexities, and History

In recent years vitamin B6 has become a focus of research describing the compound’s critical function in cellular metabolism and stress response. For many years the sole function of vitamin B6 was considered to be that of an enzymatic cofactor. However, recently it became clear that it is also a potent antioxidant that effectively quenches reactive oxygen species and is thus of high importance for cellular well-being. In view of the recent findings, the current review takes a look back and summarizes the discovery of vitamin B6 and the elucidation of its structure and biosynthetic pathways. It provides a detailed overview on vitamin B6 both as a cofactor and a protective compound. Besides these general characteristics of the vitamin, the review also outlines the current literature on vitamin B6 derivatives and elaborates on recent findings that provide new insights into transport and catabolism of the compound and on its impact on human health.

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Calorie Confusion: The History of the Calorie

The Calorie (kcal) of present U.S. food labels is similar to the original French definition of 1825. The original published source (now available on the internet) defined the Calorie as the quantity of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water from 0 to 1°C. The Calorie originated in studies concerning fuel efficiency for the steam engine and had entered dictionaries by 1840. It was the only energy unit in English dictionaries available to W.O. Atwater in 1887 for his popular articles on food and tables of food composition. Therefore, the Calorie became the preferred unit of potential energy in nutrition science and dietetics, but was displaced when the joule, g-calorie and kcal were introduced.

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Organic Food: The Real Story

By Jamie Hale

Over the past two decades the sale of organic foods has increased annually nearly 20%. Today’s organic food system includes a combination of small and large food producers, local and global distribution networks, and a wide variety of products including processed foods, fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy [Bibliography item Winter not found.]. Recent food crises such as mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease may have decreased consumer confidence in conventional foods and swayed their buying tendencies to what they perceive as safer foods – Organic, All Natural Foods.

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Food Labeling For Food Allergens

In 2004 it was estimated and reported in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCP ) that approximately two percent of adults and about five percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies and each year, roughly 30,000 individuals require emergency room treatment and 150 individuals die because of allergic reactions to food.

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Minerals are central to human nutrition and many are involved in uncountable biological functions. Minerals constitute only about four percent of the body's weight but their importance should not be overlooked, and it was the observance of minerals in the composition of the body's tissues and fluids that clued us in to their importance in human nutrition.

Certain minerals are found in greater abundance in the body and these minerals are referred to as macrominerals. Read more about them below or see our Youtube presentation.

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How To Read Food Labels

The information in the main or top section, can vary with each food product but contains a number of mandatory listings. Every food label MUST provide this information in this standard format. They are:

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Dietary Guidelines should reflect new understandings about adult protein needs

Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide nutrition advice aimed at promoting healthy dietary choices for life-long health and reducing risk of chronic diseases. With the advancing age of the population, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines confront increasing risks for age-related problems of obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, heart disease, and sarcopenia. New research demonstrates that the meal distribution and amount of protein are important in maintaining body composition, bone health and glucose homeostasis. This editorial reviews the benefits of dietary protein for adult health, addresses omissions in current nutrition guidelines, and offers concepts for improving the Dietary Guidelines.

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Fish Oil Quality

Fish oil paranoia is rampant right now.

Of course you do need to be careful what fish oil products you use. There is always some contaminated product floating around out there. Even some of the nutritional experts seem to be a little misled, however. Perhaps because they have more money than I it’s easy to get lazy and assume more expensive means better quality.

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