In April of 2017, Health Canada proposed a ban on trans fats. Now, that ban is set to become a reality and will go into effect on September 18th.
Health Canada’s Notice of Proposal calls for prohibiting the use of partially hydrogenated oils – also known as PHOs, which are considered to be much more dangerous that saturated fats. When oils (such as vegetable oil) are hydrogenated, they are turned into solid fat; and while studies have shown that Canadians do consume much less tarns fats today, Health Canada says more needs to be done to reduce trans fat intake in order to decrease the risk of heart disease, which is one of the main reasons why the ban is being put into place.
Where Are Trans Fats Found?
Trans fats are found in many different foods, but they are especially prevalent in fried foods, such as fries, donuts, cakes (and cake frosting), pies, muffins, cookies, crackers, candies, breakfast sandwiches, waffles and pancakes, butter, and even microwave popcorn – as well as any foods that are battered, such as fish & chips and onion rings. Trans fats can also occur naturally in certain meat products, such as beef and lamb.
Health Risks of Trans Fats
While the aforementioned foods might taste good, they can do some serious damage to your health. Not only do trans fats raise your bad levels of cholesterol (also known as your LDL levels) and decrease your good levels of cholesterol (also known as your HDL levels), trans fats also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as increase your risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Reducing Consumption of Trans Fats
To reduce your consumption of trans fats, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, Canada, recommends significantly cutting back on eating foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. When buying foods, always be sure to read the nutrition facts found on the backs of packaging, and when dining out at restaurants always ask your server which kinds of oils their foods are cooked in. Many restaurants in and around British Columbia also offer healthier meal alternatives on their menu.
It’s also easy to reduce your intake of trans fats at home. In order to achieve optimal health, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends having a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. You should limit foods and beverages that contain sugar, and of course avoid fried foods.