New Zealand scientists have conducted a groundbreaking four-year research programme to explore the differences between pasture-raised beef with grain-fed beef and alternative proteins. Watch researchers talk about the research project co-funded by B+LNZ and explain its initial findings.
Dr Andrea Braakhuis, Research Dietician - University of Auckland says, “The idea was to investigate the health consequences of humans consuming either grass-fed beef or lamb and comparing that to these other alternatives that are increasing in the market such as these meat analogues.”
The study found the plant-based alternative tested had lower protein digestibility than the grass-fed and grain-fed beef.
Dr Lovedeep Kaur, Massey University Investigator explains, “During digestion the pasture-raised beef released lower levels of saturated fatty acids or the saturated fats, which are linked with adverse health outcomes compared to the grain-finished beef. The pasture raised beef also released higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid such as DHA and EPA, which are linked with better health outcomes.”
Dr Scott Knowles, Senior Research Scientist – AgResearch says, “What we do great in this country is grow grass. We’ve got the sunshine, we’ve got the rain, we’ve got the land, and so the animal are pretty low impact on environment and low impact on water usage. The welfare is excellent for the animals when they’re free range. When you look at it with the kind of depth that we were able to with our advanced analytics, that’s when you see that a wholefood is full of things, all manner of compounds that are part of what our body needs.
“We found that the pasture-raised beef included substantially more of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, the good fats, than the grain-finished did.”
Fiona Windle, Head of Nutrition – B+LNZ Inc says, “Red meat is recognized for its nutritional quality it provides quality protein and essential micronutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and so, these all contribute to health and wellbeing, things like energy levels, immune function, and growth and development in children.”
“New Zealanders and general consumers are getting a lot of messages about food and nutrition, and many of these messages are unfounded,” says Windle.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand jointly funds the research programme with the High-Value Nutritianal National Science challenge and Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Research Partnership Fund.
The study is undertaken by researchers, scientists, dietitians and nutritionists from AgResearch, Massey University, the Riddet Institute and University of Auckland and is supported by the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand Innovation Ltd (MIA Innovation).
Learn more about the pasture raised advantage on B+LNZ’s website.