Complex Lipids for Enhanced Metabolic Health
Emma is a Senior Research Scientist at AgResearch and is the Principal Investigator for the Complex Lipids for Enhanced Metabolic Health reserch project, which is jointly funded by the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge and First Light Foods. Emma has held roles with the CSIRO, Australia, INRA, France and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0952-5260
Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Bermingham, AgResearch
Collaborating Organisation: University of Auckland
The apparently simple choice of having red meat at a meal has never been more complicated for health-conscious consumers. For example, not all beef is created equal. Firstlight Foods have pioneered the development of New Zealand Wagyu-cross beef cattle, raised on New Zealand’s rich pastures, to create the finest quality beef with superior taste and tenderness. This unique beef is extensively and naturally marbled meat, rich in long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and essential complex lipids such as phospholipids and sphingolipids due to both the unique genetics and New Zealand’s pasture-raising practices. AgResearch has undertaken detailed mass-spectrometric lipid analytics that has provided FirstLight beef with a detailed fingerprint of the exact fat mixture that makes their New Zealand pasture-fed Wagyu stand out from other breeds of beef cattle. Many of the complex lipids enriched in this New Zealand pasture-fed Wagyu-cross beef have known benefits for preventing chronic diseases like heart disease – but in a modern Western diet, these can often be in short supply. The superior levels of healthful lipids in New Zealand pasture-fed Wagyu-cross beef raise the important question of what possible impact might this meat have on important health outcomes, particularly key determinants of heart disease risk.
In a world first study, the health impact of New Zealand pasture-fed Wagyu-cross beef was compared directly against grain-finished beef and a plant-based meat alternative by nutrition researchers at the University of Auckland. Over 8 weeks, middle aged men were randomly assigned to one of the two meat, or one meat alternative, products. Each man ate 3 meals each week containing these meat (or meat-less) alternatives. Blood samples from each participant are now being analysed to pinpoint any changes in “good”- and “bad”-cholesterol (lipoproteins) and levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The results will be finalised by the end of June 2019, with the aim of understanding whether grass-fed New Zealand Wagyu-cross beef, in addition to being tasty, can also be an important part of a healthy diet.
This project has been developed with Firstlight Foods – a leading New Zealand food company with strong links to farms across New Zealand, including iwi farming entities in Kerikeri, Rotorua, East Coast and Canterbury, that focuses on ethically producing 100% pasture-fed Wagyu beef. This product is presented as a high-end option for consumers with high expectations who are prepared to pay a premium price for ultra-premium indulgence, ethical production and health benefits. Firstlight Foods are focusing their business growth strategies within the USA, specifically in markets where consumers are conscientious and focused on health and wellbeing. The market for labelled pasture-fed beef is continuing to grow, and validated health benefits of New Zealand pasture-fed Wagyu-cross beef will support this uniquely New Zealand product in the global market. This research provides a scientific foundation to support Firstlight Foods’ growth as the leader in high-quality New Zealand grown beef.
Metabolic Health highlights
The HVN Metabolic Health Priority Research Programme's Synergy Study is underway. This study is an opportunity for people who are concerned about their diabetes risk and interested in improving their health with the "Kiwi-terranean" diet. The Human Nutrition Unit at...
Ground-breaking study to investigate the impact of Pāmu Deer Milk on nutritional status and physical function in older adults
A new clinical trial aims to provide scientific evidence of the role of Pāmu deer milk in supporting a healthy lifestyle and improving the general nutrition in a community-dwelling older population over the age of 65. Funded by the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) Ko Nga...
Pamela von Hurst from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition at Massey University has been promoted to Professor. Pamela is Co-Director of the Massey Vitamin D Research Centre, which she helped establish in 2010. Her research interests include vitamin D in health...