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Modification of the fatty acid composition of animal-derived foods: does it enhance their healthiness?

Givens, D. I. (2024) Modification of the fatty acid composition of animal-derived foods: does it enhance their healthiness? In: Sanders, T. A. B. (ed.) Functional dietary lipids: food formulation, consumer issues, and innovation for health. 2nd edition. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. Woodhead Publishing, Oxford, pp. 49-67. ISBN 9780443153273

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-443-15327-3.00004-5


Foods derived from animals are important sources of nutrients for humans. Concerns have been raised that that due to their saturated fatty acids (SFA) content, dairy foods may increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. Prospective studies do not indicate a positive association between milk consumption and disease risk, although there are less data for other dairy foods. SFA in dairy products can be partially replaced by cis-MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) through nutrition of the dairy cow and whilst some human randomised controlled trials (RCT) indicate that this may attenuate the effect of dairy fat on plasma LDL-C, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that this will decrease cardiovascular disease risk. Intakes of long chain n-3 fatty acids (LCn-3 FA) are sub-optimal in many countries and whilst foods such as poultry meat can be enriched by inclusion of fish oil in the diet of the birds, fish oil is expensive and has an associated risk that the meat will be oxidatively unstable. Other sources of LCn-3 FA such as krill oil, algae and genetically modified plant seeds may prove to be better candidates for meat enrichment. Also, laying hens have the unusual ability to increase the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in their eggs from being fed plant sources of α-linolenic acid. This suggests a possibly reproduction-related upregulation of the LCn-3 synthetic pathway the application of which needs more attention. Overall, the health-related value of FA-modified animal-derived foods cannot be judged by their FA composition alone although there has been a tendency to do so. More appropriately detailed human RCTs are needed before judgements concerning improved health value can be made.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH)
ID Code:113743
Publisher:Woodhead Publishing

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