BIC Is Not Silent On Saturated Fats

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In “Consumers misled about vegetable oil” (April 26), Trevor Jones says the animal industry has always been silent about stating that saturated fats are maligned. “I have waited for years for the CCA, Alberta Beef Producers, the Beef Information Centre and Alberta Lamb Producers to defend our animal products against such blatant misinformation. But to no avail.”

The Beef Information Centre (BIC) has undertaken several such initiatives.

Human nutrition research. BIC is currently co-funding a multiyear, $2-million research program with the University of Alberta. The goal is to provide insight into the beneficial health effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that is found mainly in beef and dairy products. BIC has been funding this research at the U of A since 2006. BIC is also currently funding a two-year study with Texas A&M University. The project “Can ground beef fatty acid composition alter HDL functionality?” – is to determine the functionality of HDL before and after increased intake of ground beef with different ratios of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids.

Nutricast Radio. BIC has developed a series of podcasts for health professionals. Featuring Dr. Catherine Field, the podcasts highlight the health benefits of natural trans fats in the diet and an overview of the research on this topic.

Nutrition Perspective newsletter. In 2004, BIC developed and distributed this newsletter to registered dietitians across Canada with focus on anti-cancer effects of conjugated linoleic acid.

In 2002, BIC also distributed an issue of Nutrition Perspective to registereddietitians. T hisissue focused on heart-healthy eating patterns that include red meats and strategies to achieve healthy blood lipid levels.

A Matter of Fat. Over the past dozen years, BIC has regularly developed/updated and distributed the A Matter of Fat booklet. This visually compares the amount of fat in a variety of foods, including beef. It focuses on fat added during processing, preparation and at the table. This resource was distributed to dietitians and physicians.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA ) research partnership.

This “Summary and meta-analysis of prospective studies of animal fat intake and breast cancer” was published by Dr. Dominik Alexander. Funded by the NCBA, the conclusion of the study states the research is “not supportive of a positive independent association between consumption of animal fat and breast cancer.”

HealthLink (e-newsletter sent to approximately 3,000 health professionals across Canada). Various HealthLink articles address thefatissue. F orexample, aSeptember 2008 article states that low-carbohydrate and Mediterranean diets are effective and safe alternatives to low-fat diets for weight loss.

Nutrient Value of Canadian Beef. This BIC resource for health professionals provides an overview of the updated nutrient values for Canadian beef. A large section is devoted to lean beef being a lean choice. It compares fat content of beef with other proteins and highlights that half of the total fat in beef is in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids. A swell, 30percentofthe saturated fatty acids (SFA) in beef are in the form of stearic acid, which does not raise LDL blood cholesterol.

Ground Beef Data. This resource compares fat content of lean ground beef, ground chicken and ground turkey and discusses the fatty-acid profile of ground beef.

Health Check/Make It Beef (MIB) booklets. BIC continually includes lean beef cuts that qualify for the Health Check program in the MIB booklet as well as MIB e-newsletter.

BIC continues to communicate the nutritional goodness of beef in various ways, including its most recent multimedia campaign in Alberta and Ontario, podcasts with the topic of nutrient-rich beef, development and distribution of the Naturally Nutrient Rich consumer resource, various retail initiatives and the ongoing use of social media to spread the word.

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