The Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund (ALIDF) will support a multi-pronged, five-year natural trans fat research program led by the Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, University of Alberta.
The program is an anchor component of the CLA Network, a multi-disciplinary team representing producers and industry, government, the research and academic community and other specialized expertise, which has built a substantial track record in driving progress to understand healthy components of dairy and beef.
CLA Network research has centered on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a natural fatty acid produced only by ruminant animals, which has been shown to contain strong antioxidant, anti-tumour and other health-boosting properties. Studies based on animal models have shown CLA, which is technically a trans fat, has considerable potential to deliver specific human health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These benefits include helping to prevent or fight cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and metabolic syndrome, as well as to improve bone density.
ALIDF funding will support research aimed at further understanding how natural trans fats affect health, including planned human clinical trials focused on heart disease and childhood obesity. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Centre for Weight and Health.
Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Beef Information Centre have also provided support.