With its healthy eating properties, Wagyu beef has no equal when you also consider its tenderness, marbling and eating quality.

Healthy Eating

Wagyu is a breed of beef cattle originating in Japan with a genetic predisposition that yields a beef which contains a high percentage of omega-3, omega-6 and oleic fatty acids. The increased marbling also improves the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats making it a healthy eating product. But don’t just take our word for it – check out the science behind the world’s luxury beef!

Dale Woerner


Prof Dale Woerner is a leading meat scientist in America with a clear understanding of the differences in fatty acid profiles that make Wagyu beef a unique product. Dale holds a PhD in meat science from Colorado State University, where he also served on the faculty for nine years. Since 2018, he has been an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University and was recently awarded the American Meat Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Dale is an expert in identifying consumer preferences for specific beef flavour characteristics in relation to cattle production and post-mortem processing parameters.

“Wagyu - a Superior Beef Product” – Prof Dale Woerner, 2020 World Wagyu Conference

Please read on for an executive summary of the paper or Click Here

Wagyu is in a league of its own. Whether it be in terms of flavour, tenderness or overall eating experience, Wagyu beef is an ‘outlier’ in that it outperforms all other breeds. Its uniqueness comes down to the balance of fats – not only the quantity of intramuscular fat (marbling) but also the composition of these fats. When we look at fatty acids relative to nutritional value and overall health benefit, we are looking for oleic acid and palmitic acid, both monounsaturated fatty acids which epidemiological studies have demonstrated to have a potential heart health or health benefit. In all beef, oleic acid increases with marbling however Wagyu has a unique ability to increase these monounsaturated fatty acids even more than conventional highly marbled beef. The high level of marbling in combination with highly desirable monounsaturated fatty acids, primarily oleic acid, is what sets Wagyu apart.

Globally, nutritionists and medical professionals are recognising the importance of fat in the diet and the importance it plays in heart health and as ‘brain food’ in childhood development. Research data supports the presence in high values of oleic acid 18:1 and palmitic acid 16:1 which are monounsaturated fatty acids most closely associated with Wagyu. Both fatty acids are highly correlated with not only eating experience but with healthy eating. Wagyu beef also provides a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acid, perhaps enough to have a meaningful impact on health.

When looking at nutrition and the healthful impacts of beef, it is understood that beef is not only an excellent source of protein but also of vitamins and minerals most notably B vitamins (B12, niacin and riboflavin), iron and zinc – significantly more so that pork or chicken. A 100g serving of beef provides 25g of protein providing 180 calories to the diet. In order to get the same level of protein from alternative non-meat protein alternatives, we increase to 236 calories, black beans 374 calories and peanut butter 670 calories for the same amount of protein. Beef comes in as a calorie saver and can contribute to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.

In conclusion, oleic acid is the ‘marketing message’ relative to health; it is the ‘marketing message’ relative to eating quality. In the medical community, oleic acid has been well established as heart healthy and associated with reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol in humans, fighting infection and reducing the inflammatory effects of starches and carbohydrates in cardiovascular disease.

Wagyu – not all beef is created equal!

Tim Noakes


Prof Tim Noakes holds an MB ChB and an MD and DSc (Med) in exercise science from the University of Cape Town, where he is now an emeritus professor after retiring from the Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. In 1995 he co-founded the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. Tim has published more than 750 scientific books and
articles and won numerous awards. He founded The Noakes Foundation to support high-quality research into the eating plan described in the best-selling book The Real Meal Revolution. He is the co-founder and chief medical director of the Nutrition Network and devotes the majority of his time to promoting the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

“The Case for Wagyu Meat as part of a Healthy Diet” is the title of the paper given by Professor Noakes at the second World Wagyu Congress hosted by Wagyu South Africa 10-12 November 2020. Please continue reading for an Executive Summary.

“The Case for Wagyu Meat as part of a Healthy Diet” – Prof Tim Noakes, 2020 World Wagyu Conference

 Humans are designed to eat meat

Put simply, humans are designed to eat meat. Having co-evolved with chimpanzees and gorillas around 6 million years ago, a massive developmental change occurred when humans added meat to their diet around 3 million years ago. Gorillas and chimps essentially have a large colon which contains bacteria to break down cellulose thus converting carbohydrate to saturated fats. Humans began using herbivores as a source of saturated fat leading to increased brain size with meat and dairy contributing to a high score in physical and cognitive development.

The dogma that saturated fat is unhealthy and no longer valid

Ancel Keys famously presented the above graph in 1953 to evidence the link between saturated fat and heart disease by country. However, the same data could just as easily have implicated sugar as countries eating higher amounts of fat were simultaneously eating more sugar. In fact, life expectancy increases the more the intake of fat increases. Yes, saturated fat is linked to heart disease but it is the carbs within a diet that produce the saturated fats. Fat from dairy, unprocessesd red meat together with for instance dark chocolate produce a complex food matrix with a high nutrient value.

Arno Hugo


Prof Arno Hugo, a leading meat scientist at the University of the Free State in South Africa, conducted a study under the auspices of the Wagyu Society of South Africa in 2019 to verify numerous health-benefit claims. The university is one of only two research institutes that is able to study fatty-acid profiles.

The following is abridged from ‘The Quality of Wagyu Meat’, an article which published in the Wagyu World Conference 2020 Programme & Information Notes

Prof Arno Hugo, a leading meat scientist at the University of the Free State in South Africa, conducted a study under the auspices of the Wagyu Society of South Africa in 2019 to verify numerous health-benefit claims. The university is one of only two research institutes that is able to study fatty-acid profiles.

As per the international definition of Wagyu, the breed composition of the first sample was 100% Wagyu. The breed content of the second sample comprised 50% Wagyu genetics. The results showed that Wagyu contained the most marbling of any breed in South Africa. The two Prof Arno Hugo samples respectively contained 38.3g of marbling to 100g of meat and 16.7g of marbling to 100g of meat. Marbling refers to the small flecks of fat found in between the muscle tissue. It allows the fat to literally melt into the meat, thus producing a buttery flavour that is rich and juicy.

Wagyu has seven times more monounsaturated fat (mg per 100g) than normal beef sold in South Africa. The most important fatty acid found in Wagyu is oleic acid, which is also the main fatty acid in avocados and avocado oil. Avocados have become very popular and are now considered to be a part of a healthy diet. Wagyu is following the same trajectory as the avocado because of the higher-than-normal levels of oleic acid found in this type of beef.

The three most important meat-quality attributes to guarantee a good eating experience are tenderness, juiciness and flavour. Wagyu gets its juiciness and flavour from the high levels of marbling. Sheer force is an objective measure of tenderness and measures the maximum force required to cut through meat. A sheer force of less than 3,8kg is considered tender. The Wagyu tested had a sheer force of 1.69kg and 2.02kg when compared to a feedlot beef sample of 2.43kg. The Wagyu beef tested was thus exceptionally tender.

In summary, Wagyu beef has a huge worldwide potential because its marbling provides the flavour, juiciness and tenderness desired by meat eaters whilst oleic acid provides proven health benefits.