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Why Whey Protein from Pasture-Fed Cows Matters

It seems like the world of health and fitness – especially as far as supplements are concerned – is constantly undergoing a flood of buzzwords. In light of this onslaught, it can be tempting to ignore certain word or phrases that we see attached to specific products. So, when you see things like “pasture-fed” or “grass-fed” on a tub of whey protein, what do you think? Does it actually matter? Feedlots and Pastures Although the idea of the feedlot is most commonly associated with beef production, the strategy is also employed when it comes to dairy cows. By keeping the animals in a confined space, the farmers are able to strictly their diet in a way that encourages each cow to produce as much milk as possible. The cows are also in a position to receive hormone and antibiotic injections frequently. Again, this helps to up production while, at the same time, fighting infection. And this is key. Since the animals are kept in such confined spaces, sanitation is a major concern and they can easily pick up and spread infections. None of this sounds great, right? But perhaps the biggest source of concern surrounding feedlots is what the cows are actually eating. While the common belief is that feedlot cows are consistently given a diet of grains – specifically corn – this isn't always the case. Grain-based diets are popular because it's considerably cheaper than alternatives but there are also several well-known problems with this approach. For one thing, cows aren't supposed to eat that much grain and their systems struggle with it – leading to an increased need for antibiotics. Their livers are especially susceptible to problems on this sort of diet. But there has also been plenty of talk about an increased risk of E.coli among corn-fed cows. Studies into this - and its potential impact on humans – have been mixed, however. Now, contrast this image of cows crammed into small spaces, given a formulate mix of food with that of pasture-fed animals. These cows are given a prepared pasture, planted with edible grasses where they can wander and graze as they want. Typically, these animals require less care in term of antibiotics and are not usually given hormones. It should be noted that pasture-fed cows are also sometimes given corn or other grains in small amounts to encourage weight gain when needed. Clearly, the pasture-feeding procedure just seems nicer and more natural. Many also feel like it is more humane and ecologically friendly. When it comes to the whey protein ultimately produced by these cows' milk, though, is there a difference? Just Plain Better Simply put: Yes. The primary edge that grass-fed dairy has over feedlot has to do with the fat content of the milk. In fact, the same is also true of meat produced from grass-fed cattle. Whether it's a dairy product like whey or beef, anything derived from grass-fed cows has been shown to have lower levels of saturated fat and higher levels of healthy fat like omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than the feedlot alternatives. In the end, then, grass-fed whey not only involves a cleaner, more natural production process but also creates a more nutritious product for you. Read More: Common Whey Protein Ingredients Common Whey Protein Ingredients to Avoid Three Great-Tasting Whey Protein Recipes

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