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Fresh thinking on fats in foods

Posted: June 5, 2015

A look at five trending concepts for the nutrition community

Science is sparking a wealth of new thinking, ideas and perspectives around the fast-emerging knowledge on natural trans fats.

Here, in no particular order, is a "Top 5 countdown" of important facts and learnings for nutrition advisors and health professionals to consider:

1. Stepping up our game on consumer education. Conveying information that is meaningful to consumers and in a way that does not confuse or mislead them is critical to help consumers make informed decisions about the food they buy. A leading effort to support this in the area of trans fats is the website www.naturaltransfat.ca, with resources to help everyone from health professionals to consumers in understanding the differences between industrially produced and natural trans fats.

2. To label or not to label NTFs. There are increasing signs of consensus in the science, health and nutrition communities around the recognition there is no scientific rationale for highlighting the small amounts of natural trans fat in foods and raising concerns over their consumption.





The power of the rumen

Posted: June 6, 2015

What it means for fats and human health

Research on natural trans fats (NTF's) has focused on the types produced by ruminant animals, such as dairy and beef cattle, goats, bison and sheep.

In the unique ruminant digestive system, the rumen fore stomach of these animals contains thousands of micro-organisms that break down feedstuffs.

Under the microscope

The current understanding is that NTF's are created in the rumen when these microorganisms break down plant material and a portion of the resulting components bond with hydrogen to form a trans fatty acid. There is also evidence that enzymes within the animal may also support conversion of unsaturated fatty acid into natural trans fatty acid.