Studies show that industrially produced trans fat can increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat is known to raise ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower ‘good’ cholesterol levels. Intake of trans fat should be reduced as low as possible. Most trans fat comes from partially hydrogenated oils, which can be found in products such as vegetable oil shortening, “stick” [hard] margarine, commercially prepared baked goods, potato and corn chips. crackers, microwave popcorn and deep-fried foods.
Dietitians of Canada supports removing trans fats from processed foods and those served in restaurants. We support efforts to help Canadians reduce their intake of total fat and industrially produced trans fat.
Members of DC were part of the Trans Fat Task Force. The final report of this group, TRANSforming the Food Supply was released in 2006. The goal was to reduce industrially produced trans fat in Canadian foods. The group recommended that Canada's food industry:
- Limit trans fat of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2 percent
- Limit the trans fat for all other foods to 5 percent
The food industry was given two years to make changes. Between December 2007 to December 2009, Health Canada released data on the food industry’s response to the trans fat guidelines. The data showed that the trans fat rules were helping the food industry change their products but there is still further progress that needs to be made.
Most Canadians exceed the recommended limits of trans fat intake. In 2012, the Health Minister Aglukkaq confirmed that the government will continue with a voluntary approach instead of regulation with the food industry. Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations require trans fat content be declared in the Nutrition Facts table.
Dietitians of Canada supported the restriction of trans fats in restaurants in British Columbia in 2009 - BC was the first Canadian province with such an initiative and a recent evaluation demonstrated almost full compliance. In September 2014, we issued a media release outlining DC's support for a new campaign in Quebec: Dietitians of Canada wants to see trans fats banned in Québec restaurants
In October 2016, Health Canada launched the Healthy Eating Strategy, which included proposed actions for Banning Partially Hydrogenated Oils from Canada's food supply; Dietitians of Canada responded to the government's proposal in January 2017 (see report below).
Updated February 7, 2017