Will You Be Getting Your Omega-3 From Minced Beef?

You may think that you can only get your omega-3 from oily fish and nuts or supplements, but Professor Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry at Kansas State University, has developed a technique that enriches ground beef with omega-3 fatty acids, and the product is already set to hit the shelves in the US.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important to your overall wellbeing in several ways. Getting the right amounts can improve your heart wellness, lower your cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure. They can be found in fish and plant oils, but, depending on feeding practises, beneficial levels are already found in beef. Research has shown that Wagyu beef, for example, inherently contains higher levels of omega-3 than beef from other breeds.

There are already ‘functional foods’ on shelves, such as bread, milk or orange juice, that have been enriched with beneficial ingredients like vitamins, minerals or anti-oxidants, but the process is only now starting to emerge in meat proteins. Kansas-based NBO3 Technologies is the company that is commercialising the product, GreatO Premium Ground Beef, which will be sold later this month in New York and available nationwide in retailers and restaurants later this year.

Many medical health professionals recommend that you get 1200-1600 milligrams of omega-3s daily, depending on your age and health. Drouillard says that you can get 200mG from a quarter-pound hamburger made with his enriched ground beef, which can be a great alternative if you want to increase your omega-3 fatty acids intake but you don’t like fish or supplements.

He explained, ‘As a society, Americans’ consumption of fish, especially fish that contributes to these omega-3 fats, is quite low compared to other proteins. Reasons for this include cost, access to fish and personal preference. Americans do, however, like hamburgers. So if we can give people a hamburger that is rich in omega-3s, it’s an alternative form of a product that they already eat and does not require a lifestyle change, which is difficult to make.’

Finally, if you’re worried about the beef’s taste, Drouillard claimes that substituting omega-3 fatty acids for saturated fats has not had an impact on flavour: ‘Knowing that there are a lot of desirable flavour characteristics associated with the fat in beef, we performed sensory panel tests through Kansas State University’s meat science faculty and with the department of human nutrition to ensure that the flavour is not compromised.’

He concluded by boasting that ‘Our panellists were never able to detect appreciable differences in the flavour profiles of the omega-3 rich beef and non-omega-3 beef, even though the fats are quite different.’


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