Omega 6/Omega 3 Ratio – What’s that got to do with the health of beef?
By David Jessup
What makes grass-fed meat healthier is not the amount of Omega 3 (good fat), but the ratio between Omega 6 (bad fat) and Omega 3. In a phone interview, Dr. Susan Duckett of Clemson University told me that according to the 1994 Lyon Diet Heart Study, lowering the Omega 6 / Omega 3 fat ratio below 2:1 resulted in a 76 percent decrease in human mortality from heart disease.
“The key to good heart health is not just increasing Omega 3 (the good fat), but decreasing Omega 6 (the bad fat). The ratio between 6 and 3 needs to be no higher than 2:1,” Duckett said.
In cattle, the ratio changes dramatically with each bite of grain. Feedlot cattle fed a high grain diet for six months have a five to fifteen times worse good-to-bad fat ratio than grassfed beef.
In a new test at Clemson, Ducket reported that heifers fed for 30 days on pasture supplemented with corn increased their Omega 6/3 ratio to 2.4 to 1. After 60 days, it went up to 3.5 to one. The grass-fed only beef remained at 1.1 to 1.
The bottom line: grass-fed beef with the right kind of fat is heart-healthy.