Professor Tim Crowe, chief dietitian with Deakin University’s School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, has built a compelling argument for the promotion of Wagyu beef as a ‘healthy alternative‘ in a balanced diet. His statements are based on the unique high concentration of beneficial omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids found in Wagyu beef. While sharing the highest source of omega 3 fatty acids, meat products are another significant source. Omega 3 is known to aid in protection against heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s, and high blood pressure, among other things.
The unique advantage in Wagyu is that it contains a much higher proportion of the desirable mono-unsaturated fats than other beef. Dr Crowe said the mono-unsaturated/saturated fat ratio was up to 300% higher in Wagyu than other beef. 50% of all marbling within a Wagyu carcass was made up of oleic acid (mono-unsaturated), while a relatively small portion was saturated fat.
“But even the saturated fat contained in Wagyu is different. 40% of it is in a version called stearic acid, which is regarded as having a minimal impact in raising cholesterol levels. The profile of marbled Wagyu beef is very beneficial to human health. It can be described as a healthier type of meat”, he said.
According to Dr. Stephen B. Smith from the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, Wagyu beef is the healthiest beef we can produce. Also, corn-fed beef is good for you, and the brisket contains the healthiest fat on the carcass. When you produce high quality beef, you also produce healthy beef.
In Japan, beef palatiability is positively correlated with the amount of oleic acid in beef. The Asian markets prefer beef that contains elevated oleic acid (softer fat).
The results of a study led by Dr. Smith found that oleic acid has positive health benefits. Increasing oleic acid in beef has a measurable effect on cholesterol metabolism in human subjects. According to Kris-Etherton and Yu, 1997, foods high in oleic acid decrease LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
Dr. Smith found that modifying the fatty acid composition of beef can be done naturally and practically. Further, beef from Wagyu cattle is healthier because it is genetically enriched with oleic acid. As we increase oleic acid through feeding programs, saturated and trans-fatty acids in beef are reduced.