Enter the supermarket and enter a place full of uncertainty and pitfalls. Claims of low fat, and reduced sodium pop out from the packed aisles in every color and shade. The 50% off sale on Cheetos vies for your attention. Economy size bags of neon candies scream out, "Buy me!" But you just went in there to find something good to eat. Traditionally we deal with this by picking up a package and reading the back. Nutrition facts can help inform our choice, but they don't show the whole picture. Fat from a grass-fed cow has vastly different nutritional value than fat from a corn-fed cow. In the nutrition facts, fat is fat, so there is no noticeable difference in nutrition value of 90% lean ground beef from either type of cow. When we look closer, we find that the chemical composition of the fat in each cow is where difference lies.
Fats are more than just the marbling in your steak. They are made up of a bond between three molecules of fatty acid and one molecule of glycerol. The result is a triglyceride, also known as fat for its high concentration of fatty acids. There are a wide variety of fatty acids that can be involved in this bond. Different types of fatty acids do different things in your body when they are digested. Two essential types of fatty acid --which can only be acquired from the food we eat-- are known as omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known to increase the function of our cardiovascular system, thus reducing risk of heart disease. Omega-6 fatty acids, while vital to biological function, are being consumed at extremely unhealthy rates in the United States. Beef that is fed its natural diet of grass for its entire life contains four times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef, which contains virtually none. So, consuming grass-fed beef fat, rather than fat from grain fed cows, encourages a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which in turns promotes a healthy heart. But the nutrition fact just says "fat".
The key to personal nutrition, which is the key to a long and happy life, is understanding our body's building blocks. "The Breakdown" is a segment that Shade Market is introducing to de-mystify the conversation around nutrition. Why should we pay more for pasture-raised meats, eggs, and dairy? Why are some fats good and other fats not? What is complete protein? These are the types of questions "The Breakdown" was created to answer, in order to guide you to diet decisions that make you feel great