Grass-fed Whey Protein Advantages
April 5, 2016
There are tons of buzzwords that get tossed around the health and fitness world, particularly when it comes to nutrition. Sometimes, these are actually really important concepts that can have a major impact on your health. In most cases, however, they are little more than hype and clever advertising.
It makes sense, then, to be wary of all the different adjectives that get attached to your whey protein. But, there’s one phrase you may have seen that you absolutely should pay attention to: “Grass-fed.” What are the advantages of grass-fed whey protein powder?
What It Is
As the name indicates, grass-fed whey protein is protein powder that was sourced from cows that were given grass for food. But, don’t all cows eat grass?
Normally, yes. In order for cows to stick to their natural diet, however, they need to be allowed to wander around a pasture, grazing as they see fit. This makes it difficult for farmers to fully control the diet and growth of the animals. Pasture-feeding cows also requires plenty of space for them to move about freely.
To cut costs and increase production, many modern farmers put their cows on feed-lots – a small, industrialized space where they are given grain-based food that is specifically designed to influence the health of the animal.
So, if pasture-feeding is a slowly, more costly and more challenging process, why do it?
The primary reason that you should pick grass-fed whey protein over the more conventional products has to do to with nutrition. Whey sourced from cows that allowed to grass-feed is lower in saturated fats, and higher in healthy omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) – both of which have a wide variety of benefits.
One study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health compared the cardiovascular health of 4,000 participants with their intake of CLAs. Those that had ate the highest levels of CLAs experienced a 36 percent decrease in their risk of developing heart disease.
In addition to improved cardiovascular health, omega-3s have also been linked with improved cognitive function and work as powerful anti-inflammatories.
As mentioned, the feed-lot is not a very pleasant place for the cows. Very often, these spaces are very small and force the animals to be packed together in less-than-sanitary conditions. Having the animals contained, however, makes it easier for the farmers to inject them with a variety of hormones to increase growth and production, as well as antibiotics to help ward off infection.
The food provided in feed-lots is also typically treated with a variety of pesticides and grown using chemical fertilizers. It’s also very common for Genetically Modified Organisms to make their way into the animals’ diets since these crops are cheaper and more reliable.
The cows that produce grass-fed whey protein, however, are not exposed to these injections or unnatural food sources. This ultimately leads to a product that has far fewer chemical additives and is a much better fit for a healthy, clean diet.