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Organic Meat and Milk May Have More Omega-3 Fatty Acids, But They Shouldn't Replace Fish In Your Diet

It would make sense that animals living on a plant-based diet accumulate more healthy fats than those fed grains, right? Well, a meta-analysis of 67 studies, which will be published in this month's British Journal of Nutrition, found organic meats and milk both boast 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional grain-fed beef and milk products.

This discovery is a win-win because the boost in omega-3 fatty acids actually replaces a portion of unhealthy saturated fats usually contained in meat. However, the newly-found nutritional benefits still do not compare to those from fish.

The Washington Post unearthed the numbers you need to know in last year's post "Is grass-fed beef really better for you, the animal and the planet?"

"...According to the USDA, a 100-gram serving (a little under four ounces) of grass-fed top sirloin contains 65 milligrams of omega-3 fats, loin has 40 and rib-eye has 37. So even that 65-milligram amount is only about 22 milligrams more than that for regular beef and still far below levels in low-fat fishes such as tilapia (134 milligrams) and haddock (136). The omega-3 powerhouse king salmon has 1,270 milligrams."

Our Nutrition Editor Sidney Fry suggests buying organic meat and milk when you are purchasing those products is ideal, but don't rely on them to boost your omega-3 numbers. Instead, she also suggests sticking to fish and vegetarian sources for your doses of "good fats."

"The amount of omega-3 fatty acids in meat, even if doubled now, still isn't sufficient enough to satisfy your recommended daily intake," she says. The Institute of Medicine (IOM)―a government-funded group that supplies the data on which dietary guidelines are built―states that the adequate daily dose for omega-3 fatty acids is 1.1 grams for women and 1.6 grams for men.

If you choose to cut back on meat, start with our protein flip that'll move animal foods to the edges of your plate, so vegetables, beans, and grains can steal the spotlight. Plants filling the bulk of your plate can lower your risk of disease, and they have a smaller carbon footprint.

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