Naturally occurring trans-fats can help combat heart disease, obesity and diabetes, according to Canadian scientists.

Research from the University of Alberta found that a diet rich in trans vaccenic acid (VA), a natural trans-fat found in dairy and beef products, could reduce risk factors associated with these metabolic disorders.

This was partially due to VA's ability to reduce the production of fat and cholesterol particles called chylomicrons, researchers found.

"Our results provide further evidence of the important role of chylomicrons in contributing to risk factors associated with metabolic disorders," lead researcher Flora Wang said. "They also indicate a strong opportunity for using diets with enhanced VA to help reduce these risk factors."

VA is the major natural trans-fat in dairy and beef products, comprising more than 70% of the proportion of natural trans-fat content. Therefore, researchers concluded that their findings support a growing body of evidence that indicates natural animal-based trans-fat is different than harmful hydrogenated trans-fat created through industrial processing.

"As the VA results illustrate, some natural trans-fats are not harmful and may in fact be very good for you," Wang said.