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According to research funded by the National Cattleman's Beef Association, a common fat found in red meats and cheeses might help prevent type 2 diabetes. In their study, the fatty acid, known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) provided short-term prevention of the onset of diabetes in lab animals.
Researcher Jack Vanden Heuvel, assistant professor of toxicology at Penn State and one of the study investigators, notes that CLA affects the same hormone receptor that the diabetes-fighting thiazolidinediones (Troglitazone) drugs affect. The study's abstract reports that "CLA is able to normalize impaired glucose tolerance and improve hyperinsulinemia" in lab rats predisposed to diabetes.
According to Karen Houseknecht, assistant professor of animal sciences at Purdue and another study investigator, CLA also caused lab rats to shed fat. "In obese animals we saw a 10 percent reduction in body fat, and in lean animals we saw a 25 percent reduction in body fat," she says.
More studies are planned, and, according to Houseknecht, "Our next step will be to see if the weight loss is real and sustained over time, and the second thing will be investigating whether CLA just delays the onset of diabetes for a time or if it actually prevents it from ever occurring."
The research was published in the March 27 issue of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications and was presented at the ADA Scientific Sessions in Chicago.
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