This is something that blew mind! I have always been under the impression that herbivores, like cows, would derive their energy from carbohydrates. After all, grass is a carb, right? Well, it’s mostly cellulose and is indigestible by humans. Maybe good as fiber.
While I was aware that their digestive systems are different from carnivores’ ones, I thought that due to different enzymes/microbes they can break down the fiber into simple carbs. How wrong was I!
It turns out that the microbes in cows’ digestive systems actually ferment the grass and turn it into fat. This fat provides up to 70% of cow’s energy needs. This is one serious high-fat diet! I am not sure if even carnivores can compare… Of course, if humans feed the cows with grain, then it’s a game-changer. You can actually see the difference in the meat and there is a market for grain-fed beef, e.g. Wagyu Steak.
So, the question this information raises – is there a need for carbohydrates in the diet? While there are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), there are no essential carbs…