Researchers in the joint Adelaide Uni / UniSA Nutritional Physiology Research Group are looking for people to take part in a trial to see if combination low-fat dairy and soy foods will have an impact on reducing cholesterol and be more appealing to consumers.
Research Group leader Professor Peter Howe says evidence-based health claims in the US and the UK state that soy foods as part of a diet low in saturated fat may reduce the risk of heart disease.
“But what we know from consumer feedback is that many Australians don’t like the taste of soy,” Professor Howe said.
“With this trial we are looking at testing a potential solution by developing and trialling more palatable food products that combine low fat dairy foods with soy to see if they have the same health benefits as straight soy foods.”
Researchers are looking for healthy participants who have mildly elevated cholesterol which is not being treated with medication.
Once recruited for the study subjects will engage in an 18 week dietary trial where they will eat test foods provided free as part of their normal diet. A range of foods has been specifically designed for the trial and includes plain and flavoured milks, biscuits, custards, snack bars, pasta and pancake mixes.
“In essence people will be put on a planned diet for six weeks eating dairy based, soy based or combination soy-dairy foods and at the six week mark they will cross over to an alternate food diet and this will happen again in another six weeks,” Professor Howe said.
“By the end of the trial we hope to be able to get a clearer idea of the impact of soy products and the bioavailability of the beneficial components of soy when delivered in combination with dairy ingredients.”
People involved in the trial will need to attend the Nutritional Physiology Research Facility at UniSA’s City East campus on nine occasions. They will be asked to complete a dietary questionnaire three times during the study and be expected to eat the test foods provided for the 18 weeks of the study. The volunteers will also be asked to give blood and urine samples during the trial and will have to be measured weighed and have general checks on blood pressure.
The trial is a collaborative research project between the Universities of South Australia, Adelaide, Wollongong, Western Australia and So Natural Foods.
“Apart from the important scientific questions being addressed, the study offers participants the opportunity to engage in some important personal health education”, Prof Howe said. “It should help them beyond the life of the trial to remain informed and conscious about healthy diet and lifestyle decisions. They will also know they have made a worthwhile contribution to research into cardiovascular disease.”