Last summer, Health Canada moved to decrease the amount of trans fats in foods by encouraging the food industry to replace trans fats with heart healthy alternatives like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Baked goods, frozen, processed meats and dairy products, and spreadable margarines were targeted for being particular high in trans fat.
Within the next two years, the Trans Fat Task Force stated that restaurants and food companies must:
- Limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft margarines to 2% of the total fat content; and
- Limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5% of the total fat content, including ingredients sold to restaurants.
In this report, Health Canada released the first set of data from the Trans Fat Monitoring Program in conjuction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Burger King was named the restaurant with the highest trans fat content. Burger King's chicken nuggets were shown to have nearly 20 percent of total calories from fat - and more than one-third of those calories came from trans fats.
Tim Hortons has recently lowered its usage of trans fats, but replaced them with equally unhealthy saturated fats. Starbucks Canada has also cut the trans fat content of their baked goods.
Swiss Chalet was deemed one of the better restaurants because it has substituted high-fat ingredients for lower fat ones to reduce trans fat content.
In 2006, KFC Canada announced that they would be going trans fat free by early 2007.
Trans fats are created when liquid oils are transformed into solid fats during the chemical process of hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation. Scientific evidence has shown that trans fats, and saturated fats, can contribute to the development of heart disease.
Canada is the first country to publish this type of monitoring data. This report follows numerous new stories about the sodium and fat content of restaurant food, including Leslie Beck's comparison of popular restaurant meals published earlier this year.
The government and consumer advocacy groups vow to continuing monitoring the trans fat content of Canada's food supply. Three quarters of the Canadian population are aware of the need to reduce their intake of trans fats.
Important note: Fast food is still loaded with fat and sodium and can't be considered healthy, even if it's trans fat free. Eating home-cooked meals is the best way to avoid trans fats. For fresh and easy recipe ideas, check out our Healthy Recipes section.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.