Great Plains Beef

The Healthier Beef Option

Americans love beef, consuming more than 60 pounds of it per person every year. From a dietary perspective, beef is a valuable source of protein and minerals, high in zinc, iron, and other nutrients. And as most will attest, it tastes great.

But conventional beef can also be a source of saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol, the consumption of which many American consumers would prefer to minimize. It would be nice if there were some magical type of beef that supplied the taste and tenderness we love, but without the calories, the saturated fat, and the cholesterol.
Certified Piedmontese® is that magical beef. Lean, tender, and lower in calories than conventional beef, Certified Piedmontese combines the nutritional profile of lean, grass-fed beef with the taste and tenderness we’ve come to expect from Choice cuts of conventional beef.

Consistently Lean & Tender

In reality, of course, there’s nothing “magical” about Certified Piedmontese beef. The unique genetics of the breed combine to create cattle that is more muscled than conventional cattle, so the yield of lean meat is greater than with other breeds. In fact, with Piedmontese cattle, all cuts of beef are lean because as they grow, the cattle add more muscle but less fat. In addition, Piedmontese cattle produce shorter muscle fibers and less connective tissue, so the meat remains tender in spite of its minimal fat.

How tender? A USDA-sponsored study ranked Piedmontese as the most tender of the 11 breeds compared. And a University of Nebraska study that measured the tenderness of identically-fed Piedmontese and Angus cattle found that the two were equal in tenderness, even though the Piedmontese was much leaner.

Other studies utilized shear force tests to determine tenderness by measuring the force needed to cut meat (see the chart on the following page); those showed that a Certified Piedmontese New York strip and a Certified Piedmontese eye of round were both about 30% more tender than their conventional beef counterparts.

Nutrition By The Numbers

Shane Peed, manager of Lone Creek Cattle Company, notes that Piedmontese producers are “progressive-thinking individuals who understand the preferences of the health-conscious consumer and who are passionate about the breed.”

These days, those preferences include attempting to consume fewer calories while reducing the intake of saturated fats—and Certified Piedmontese can help consumers meet those goals.

Nutritionally, Piedmontese compares favorably to what have historically been considered ultra-healthy sources of protein. For example, untrimmed Piedmontese beef not only has fewer calories than conventional beef, it actually has fewer calories than roasted chicken.

Certified Piedmontese is not just lower in calories, it’s also lower in cholesterol. Research shows that Piedmontese beef has significantly less cholesterol than pork or Choice lamb. It even has less cholesterol than skinless chicken or turkey. In fact, in spite of being much more tender and juicy than bison, Piedmontese beef compares favorably to that animal in terms of cholesterol content.

Registered dietitian and University of Nebraska extension educator Alice Henneman notes that lean beef is a healthier choice than beef cuts with more fat, and says that eating lean beef may help consumers control their weight. “Eating too much saturated fat can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Henneman, “and lean beef is higher in protein and more nutrient-rich than fattier cuts of beef. The protein in lean beef promotes satiety, which can help curb hunger when trying to maintain or lose weight.”

The UNL report noted earlier found that while a typical USDA-graded 3.5-ounce sample of Choice New York strip contains 82mg of cholesterol, the Certified Piedmontese sample contained only about 38mg. The study also showed that Piedmontese beef had less saturated fat than samples of conventional beef, with the average USDA Choice New York strip sample containing over 6.4g of saturated fat and the Piedmontese sample containing only 4.22g.

Another study found that Piedmontese beef contained more polyunsaturated fats—the good kinds of fats—than the typical USDA Choice or Select samples. Meanwhile, the USDA-graded conventional samples contained significantly more calories than the Piedmontese samples.

Other research indicates that the American diet is deficient in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, thought to be effective in treating multiple illnesses, and potentially an aid in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Experts often recommend salmon, for example, as a valuable source of those acids. Certified Piedmontese delivers here, too: Independent studies show that Piedmontese beef delivered significantly more omega fatty acids than the USDA feedlot beef to which it was compared, and more of those omega fatty acids than skinless chicken breasts. Certified Piedmontese beef is actually similar to salmon in terms of the omega fatty acids it delivers, but with the delicious taste of juicy beef.

The Nutritional Beef Choice

Lower in saturated fat and higher in polyunsaturated fats and in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Certified Piedmontese beef delivers all of the nutritional benefits of flavorful, tender beef, with less of the fat and cholesterol and with fewer calories.

Certified Piedmontese beef isn’t really magic—it just tastes that way.