Why seek out dairy from grass-fed sources? Does it make a difference? What about Whey Protein?
These are all questions that an informed consumer should ask themselves before purchasing a milk based protein powder!
In this series, we’ll explore the nutritional profile of Grass-fed whey versus regular whey, and what this difference means for your health. Starting with the Omega 3 content.
All whey and casein protein is derived from milk, therefore, the quality of the milk plays an important role in determining the quality of the protein!
Conventional Milk vs Grass Fed Milk.
CAFO vs Grass-Fed
When you picture a dairy cow, your mind immediately shoots to the peaceful image of a herd of cows in a field, calmly chewing grass. It’s a lovely image, in some cases true, but for the most part it is remnant of the past.
Today, countries are shifting to a system called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs for short). for practical reasons (faster growth, higher milk production, more energy density, and ease) CAFOs primarily provide grain based feed for the cattle, as a substitute for grass or forage. However, the type of feed a cow is given has a direct impact on the nutritional value of the milk it produces (and the meat if you're eating a steak)!
The past 4 years have seen an explosion of research examining the nutritional differences of milk from grain and grass fed cows.
A 2012 meta-analysis (a study that looks at the body of of research) looked at 13 existing studies which analysed nutritional differences in milk based on feed. The researchers concluded that there was “a higher ratio of n-3 to n-6 (approximately twofold)” in grass fed dairy. In fact, the Omega 3:6 ratio in grass-fed milk was 1:2, whilst in grain fed dairy it went as high as 1:6!
As a fun side point: protein content was also higher, amino acid quality was higher, and there were no residues of antibiotics or hormones.
The Omega 3 factor:
As most people concerned with health know, maintaining an appropriate ratio of Omega 3:6 in your diet is an important factor in general health, especially with regards to heart health and inflammation.
The average western diet (especially the Standard American Diet) has a ratio of 1:15-30, depending on the country. A ratio which most experts agree is pro-inflammatory! 2
The easiest solution to this problem is to start eating foods that have the right ratio of Omega 3:6. This can be done quite simply by just focusing on eating higher quality protein (Meat, fish, dairy).
At Protelicious, we want to make your life that bit easier, so we source exclusively Grass-Fed Whey - every little bit helps!