Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trans Fats Still A Problem...But You Can Do Something About It!


You remember Trans Fats, right?

If not, scroll down for a quick recap!

Denmark and Switzerland have trans fat regulations, as do some American states, including California and New York. While Canada was the first country to make trans fat-labeling mandatory, we haven't been as progressive (except BC, that implemented trans fat regulations in Sept 2009).
The extent of the government's action plan was to ask food companies to voluntarily reduce trans fats from their products in 2 years. That was in 2007.

It's 2010.. so where are we with the voluntarily reductions?

According to the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation... not very far.
While some food companies have taken steps to remove trans fats, many still haven't, and there's still too much trans fats in out food... especially baked products.

What You Can Do:

Clearly, voluntary reductions are getting us nowhere. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canada urgently needs Federal trans fat regulations "to protect our children and all Canadians".

To this end, they've prepared a simple letter that you can forward to the Federal Health Minister, your local MP, and the Prime Minister.

It's so simple. If you're Canadian, you just have to fill in your contact info and click "send".

Click Here
to see, and send, the letter. (Thanks to my friend, Lindsay, for bringing this to my attention!).

Click Here for the Top 10 reasons why the Federal Government should implement Trans Fat regulations.

Trans Fats... A Recap

What's a trans fat?
It's the product of taking a healthy liquid oil and pumping it with hydrogen (hydrogenation). This makes this oil spreadable.

Why are they bad?
They not only increase your "lousy" LDL cholesterol but also lower your "healthy" HDL cholesterol. They also increase triglycerides (fat in your blood) and increase the formation of blockages in your heart blood vessels.

How much should you have?
The average Canadian is eating 10 grams trans fats a day! According to Health Canada, we should limit our intake to less than 2 grams a day. According to me, you should aim for closer to 0 grams!!

How do you know you're eating trans fats?
Read the labels! All labels have trans fats on the nutrition information table. Look for products with 0g
BUT
Be aware that, in Canada, companies only have to label a product as having trans fats if the serving contains more than 0.2 grams. (In the States, only if there's more than 0.5 grams trans fats/serving!).
So you must read through the ingredient list. If you see the following ingredients, the product contains trans fats:
hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil, shortening.

Click HERE for more information.

6 comments:

swankyrd said...

Great recap on trans fats! I believe in the US, foods that are 0.5 grams trans fat can be labeled trans fat free. don't quote me on that. haha.

I nominated you for Beautiful Blogger Award on my blog!

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Aw... thanks for the nomination Kristen!!

Ya, that's what I thought it was in the States... so weird that it's that high, eh?
If the label is saying 0g/serving even if there's up to 0.5g trans fat, and we shouldn't eat more than 2g... it doesn't make it easy!

Gina said...

Canada is so much better than America when it comes to health and wellness. I bet our average intake is 15 grams! I agree with you, zero would be just fine for me, thanks.

Jme said...

Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sybil,
Loving your blog - giving me lots to think about. I had a question about the heart and stroke advocacy letter for transfats - "Unlike salt or sugars, there are absolutely no health benefits to artificial trans fats - they are only bad for our health."
I am not sure what they are saying there. Should it be "Like salt or sugars..."?
Thanks, Katie

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment, Katie!
Good question... I think they said that because salt and sugar are ingredients that are much talked about and often considered unhealthy, like trans fats. However, we do need some 'sugar'(carbohydrates from grain products, fruit, milk products are broken down to sugar, glucose, that our bodies need) and salt (maintains fluid concentration in our bodies, plays a role in transmission of electric impulses in the nerves...). In contrast, trans fats offer no health benefit at all.
Hope this makes sense...?!