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Old 04-20-2006, 07:22 AM   #1
Michael Hill
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I'm about to order some more grass-fed meat, and was wondering if certain cuts were "good" or "bad" when it comes to fat content. First, let me say that I'm hardly fat phobic; my diet ranges but I average in the range of 40%-60% fat calorically. What I am concerned about is that from my understanding, the intramuscular fat in grass-fed animals is better, however the subcutaneous fat is really no different from that of grain fed animals. So the real question then is, is it ok to buy fatty cuts like brisket? Or am I mistaken here and brisket would not be that fatty in this case?

I'm trying to keep my cost down by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat, while staying away from ground beef because I really don't like the texture of ground beef, especially since I'll often cook a bunch at once and eat it cold the next day at work w/ salad, etc. Any suggestions as to what cuts to try or where to purchase would be appreciated.

Thanks to everyone.
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:22 AM   #2
Dave Campbell
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Look for cuts with the word "round" in it somewhere (eye of round, top round, etc). Those cuts come from the leg and are usually very lean. Top round is often the cut you will see sliced in the deli. }Of course now, lean meat is generally drier so if you cook a top round steak, for instance, cook it medium rare at most to insure juiciness.
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:59 AM   #3
Paul Findley
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http://www.victoriapacking.com/beefinfo.html

I bought a grass fed beef last year. The rancher told me that I would have to tell the butcher what cuts I wanted. I did all this research (so as to not sound like a dumbass).

The questions ended up being pretty basic. There is a lot of info on the web. I have attached a sample from my surfing.
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:23 AM   #4
Garrett Smith
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Michael,
My first question to you is where did you get the information that the intramuscular fat is different from the subcutaneous fat in grassfed vs. grainfed beef? I'd like to see that if possible.

The Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio should be relatively similar within the entire animal, I woul assume. At the very least there would always be more O-3s in any fat found in a grassfed cow as opposed to a grainfed.

I buy the cheapest cut I can get, assuming I'm not paying too much for bone weight (I'm not eating the bones yet, at least :lol: ). London broil is the cheapest grassfed cut at Trader Joe's currently. Sirloin tip steaks were the cheapest I could get when I used to shop at Whole Foods in Tempe.

Last I heard, grassfed cattle had much lower bodyfat than their grainfed counterparts, intramuscular and subcutaneous.

So, less fat overall and a better fatty acid ratio. Eat whatever cuts you like and can afford (that last part is the most important).
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:10 AM   #5
Marc Moffett
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My opinion is that I wouldn't worry too much about the cuts on grass fed beef. Since the intramuscular saturated fat is negligible (no marbling) and you can trim the subcutaneous fat if desired, it doesn't matter except for adding weight. As a general rule, cheaper cuts are leaner to begin with.

Incidentally, in my experience cooking game meat, it is really best to get a good browning of the outside quickly (i.e., at relatively high heat) and then turn down the heat and finish cooking the meat. This will give you the most tender result. So, for instance, when we cook an antelope roast, we start it off for 10-15 minutes at about 500dF, then drop the temp down to 325 and finish cooking it to the desired "temp".
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:35 PM   #6
Michael Hill
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Garrett,

The difference in the fat was from the FAQ section on Cordain's website.

"We have recently analyzed and compared the fatty acid composition of wild animals, grass-fed beef, and grain-fed beef (Cordain L et al. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56:181-91) and have found that the relative saturated fat content within subcutaneous fat (be it from grain-fed cows, grass-fed cows, or wild game) is virtually identical among the three different animals. However, the absolute amount of saturated fat is two to three times higher in the meat (muscle) of grain-fed cows. Consequently, if you would like to reduce your intake of saturated fat (which I believe to be a prudent dietary measure), then excess fat should also be trimmed from grass-fed beef meat (muscle)."

Another very interesting thing I remeber reading somewhere, but I can not find again was that the composition of the saturated fat in grass-fed beef was different also, specifially that it had a much higher proportion of N:18 (steric acid). This is very interesting to me.

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Old 04-20-2006, 04:49 PM   #7
Marc Moffett
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Michael, I think you can find those proportions in Cordain's paper--the one cited in FAQ (and available on his site).
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:46 PM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Well, considering I'm beginning to heavily disagree with Cordain's heavy-on-the-flax-oil recommendations and personally going in the direction of a higher percentage of high quality raw saturated fats (ie. coconut oil, butter oil, grassfed raw meat fat, and even some bone marrow here and there), this won't change much that I'm doing...

Seriously, when did Paleo man have a huge amount of refined seed oil in his diet?
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:32 AM   #9
Marc Moffett
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Garrett, Cordain's paleodiet recommendations are not intended to duplicate, but rather mimic, paleolithic nutrition. He is trying to provide some basic guidelines that would give even your everyday Joe a shot at a pretty sound diet without "fanaticism". I think he should be applauded. My sister has lost 47# following his advice (in less than a year) and my dad has had similar results. Its a manageable and not-too-alien regimen for them to follow.

It may be that in pursuing this sort of accessibility, Cordain has overestimated flax oil's ability to stand in for the O3s in the natural diet. Like you, I have cut back on flax oil and increased my use of "good" saturated fats a bit.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:57 AM   #10
Garrett Smith
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Marc,
We're in agreement, as usual.

He should be applauded, as should IMO Sears, the IF people (I wish I knew more about who they were), Peat, De Vany, and many others. I believe many people think that a diet like mine delves into "fanaticism" when I try to see the forest instead of the trees and take the best chunks from each person's presented knowledge.

I use 2 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds (along with 2 Tbsp sesame seeds and various mixtures of hemp seeds and hemp protein) in my daily smoothie. There are too many potential questions I have regarding flax oil and its' hormonal effects (see Pubmed) to consume high amounts of the refined stuff.
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