Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Whey Protein - How Do They Compare?

by Trevor Hiltbrand | Reviewed by Advisory Board

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Whey Protein - How Do They Compare?

It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that a cow's nutrition impacts the molecular makeup of its beef, milk, and other byproducts.

What is Whey Protein?

To understand the importance of grass-fed over grain-fed, it's important to first understand what whey protein is.

Whey protein is a byproduct in the production of cheese (also the liquid that is often found on top of yogurt). Amazingly, it was considered waste until the 70s when its use as a dietary protein was first realized.

Whey protein CONCENTRATE varies in makeup, ranging anywhere from 30-70% protein (the rest fat and carbohydrates). Whey protein ISOLATE removes all the fat and lactose, leaving upwards of 90% as protein. Isolate is considered the premium, high-end protein.

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed

cow grazing

Most cows mature in what are called CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), which are feedlots that mass feed cows, mostly with grains of soy and/or corn. Most CAFOs are unsanitary, which require the cows to be injected with antibiotics to avoid sickness. Additionally, cows are often pumped full of steroids for increased growth and beef output.

Grass-fed cows are raised in a more traditional manner, free to graze the fields and eat naturally grown grass. This is obviously more expensive, as the requirements for fertile land is far superior than those of a feedlot.

The primary nutritional difference comes down to increased levels of omega-3, vitamins (E&B), and minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium), as well as higher CLA content.

Omega-3s (made up of DHA and EPA) are fantastic fatty acids that are vital to proper cognition and mood, as well as decreased risk of heart disease.

CLA is another fatty acid that is showing increased promise in fighting cancer and aiding in weight management. 

Most grass-fed cow farms do NOT use antibiotics, steroids, or pesticides, which have been found to pass down damaging effects to humans with the consumption of cow byproducts. 

Grass-Fed Benefits in Protein

The added nutritional benefits are passed down through fat content. The higher the amount of fat in the protein, the more essential it is that the protein is sourced from grass-fed cows. All protein, both isolate and concentrate, contain residual fat, with more fat coming from concentrate.

Grass-fed protein is indisputably superior to grain-fed protein on a nutritional level. The benefits of grass-fed come down to improved amino acid and immune support nutrients, as well as healthy omega and CLA fats.

Be sure to check out our Transparent Labs Protein Series Grass-Fed Whey Concentrate. Not only is it a full 24 grams per serving and 30 servings per container, it also contains healthy fats derived from gras fed beef sources.

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Trevor Hiltbrand
Trevor Hiltbrand

Author

Trevor Hiltbrand is one of the owners/co-founders of Transparent Labs and head of content creation. He got his start with supplement research back in 2013 when he began researching cognitive enhancement. With the help of the Transparent Labs Expert Panel and Advisory Board, we aim to bring our evidence based nutrition and exercise research to the world.



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