The scope for manipulating the polyunsaturated fatty acid content of beef : a review
CITATION: Vahmani, P. et al. 2015. The scope for manipulating the polyunsaturated fatty acid content of beef : a review. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 6:29, doi:10.1186/s40104-015-0026-z.
The original publication is available at http://jasbsci.biomedcentral.com
Since 1950, links between intake of saturated fatty acids and heart disease have led to recommendations to limit consumption of saturated fatty acid-rich foods, including beef. Over this time, changes in food consumption patterns in several countries including Canada and the USA have not led to improvements in health. Instead, the incidence of obesity, type II diabetes and associated diseases have reached epidemic proportions owing in part to replacement of dietary fat with refined carbohydrates. Despite the content of saturated fatty acids in beef, it is also rich in heart healthy cis-monounsaturated fatty acids, and can be an important source of long-chain omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids in populations where little or no oily fish is consumed. Beef also contains polyunsaturated fatty acid biohydrogenation products, including vaccenic and rumenic acids, which have been shown to have anticarcinogenic and hypolipidemic properties in cell culture and animal models. Beef can be enriched with these beneficial fatty acids through manipulation of beef cattle diets, which is now more important than ever because of increasing public understanding of the relationships between diet and health. The present review examines recommendations for beef in human diets, the need to recognize the complex nature of beef fat, how cattle diets and management can alter the fatty acid composition of beef, and to what extent content claims are currently possible for beef fatty acids.