Could burgers one day benefit your health?

Could burgers one day benefit your health?

What if you could eat a burger and it lowered your cholesterol? Or you could give your baby a bottle that helped it sleep through the night?

Government funding of $7 million has been announced for just this type of innovative research.

Crying babies, sleepless nights and midnight feeds – every parent's been through it. But help may be at hand with a new type of weaning food.

"The concept is that babies wake in the night because they're running out of energy," says Professor Gerald Tannock.

So how can you make the last feed of the night last through to the morning?

"We were wondering if this might be a good idea for a weaning food, where we provide dietary fibres that provide a sustained release of energy during the night," says Prof Tannock.

The Food for Health project led by the University of Otago is one of seven to get $1 million in funding from the Government.

So how about a greasy burger which could actually benefit your health and lower your cholesterol – sound too good to be true? Maybe not, according to a team at AgResearch, who are looking at the health benefits of monounsaturated fat and lipids in Wagyu beef.

"We'd like to extract the fat from lower cuts or waste streams and then add them back into a mince, for example, and then when people eat their burgers they're getting the health benefits of those healthy fats in their burger."

It's about adding value to the New Zealand food industry and improving our health.

"When you can take the healthful things that are present in meat and then make a nutritious food that has a health benefit, it can only benefit New Zealand's health and economy."

Food for Health is hoped to help grow exports by $1 billion over the next 10 years.

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