Once again recent Canadian research underscores the health advantages of beef consumption. The researchers found that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — also known as the good fat — found in beef reduced the incidence of cancer in test animals fed beef products.

The research also indicated there might be additional benefits to high-CLA beef. The study found that rats fed beef high in CLA developed fewer fat cells, which decreased the potential for fat storage.

The researchers infer that by increasing CLA in food, many people will benefit through the reduction of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, both of which are adversely affected by body fat.

The opportunity for the beef industry is to identify ways to increase the amount of CLA, possibly through such dietary changes as adding vegetable oils to the rations of animals. The researchers found that such rations not only increased the amount of CLA in beef by as much as 300%, without increasing the negative fats, but also increased feed efficiency and average daily gain in the test animals. CLA even increased the shelf life of beef products.

This marks the exciting beginning of what could promise to be a whole new generation of research that will improve the nutritional quality of beef, and consumer acceptance.