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Trans Fats and Fast Food...

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#1 *Heather*


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    Posted 21 July 2008 - 01:16 PM

    I just came across this article on trans fats - it's pretty interesting. It's focused on Canada, but is there a similar aim at lowering trans fats in the US or anywhere else in the world?

    Trans fat battle being won on some fronts: report
    Updated Mon. Jul. 21 2008 1:04 PM ET

    The fast food sector has shown improvement in its use of heart-clogging trans fats, but many margarine and pastry producers still receive a failing grade according to an analysis of a new report from Health Canada.

    The latest results from the federal government's Trans Fat Monitoring Program were released Monday morning at an Ottawa Swiss Chalet by Steven Fletcher, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.

    He painted the results as good news and proof that the government's monitoring program is working.

    "I am very pleased to see that industry is continuing to make progress to reduce the levels of trans fat," Fletcher said in a release.

    "This second set of data, which focused on popular fast food chains and family restaurants in Canada, further illustrates the commitment of industry to achieve the limits recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. The fact that we're seeing reductions in the levels of trans fat in so many areas is great news for all Canadians."

    The government has called on the food industry to voluntarily meet the following targets by end of 2009:

    A trans fat limit of 2 per cent of the total fat content for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarine;
    A trans fat limit of 5 per cent of the total fat content for all other foods, including ingredients sold to restaurants.
    The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada said the new data shows things are getting better, but there's still a long way to go.

    Stephen Samis, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, said McDonald's, Burger King and Swiss Chalet have made major improvements in the past year, significantly cutting their trans fat levels.

    Last year Burger King was listed as one of the worst offenders.

    "After the first set of data they sent us a letter saying the were committed to bringing their trans fat levels down and they have done that," Samis told CTV Newsnet. "McDonald's has also done well. There are still a few issues within the sector but by and large we really do commend the entire sector for making a lot of progress in only a year, year and a half."

    However, many soft margarines still contain unacceptably -- and unnecessarily -- high levels of trans fat, though some companies have proven that it is possible to reduce levels.

    While some soft margarine companies have almost completely eliminated trans fat, others are still in the 30 per cent range -- a level he said is completely unacceptable.

    "It demonstrates a lack of will, not a lack of ability," Samis said.

    And amongst hard margarines, trans fat levels are almost always too high, Samis said.

    Donut makers are also singled out by The Heart and Stroke Foundation as some of the worst offenders. The tasty pastries are not currently included in the federal monitoring program, but the organization thinks they should be.

    "Donuts and pastries should no longer include high levels of trans fats -- and companies need to be mindful to replace them with healthy alternatives. The Foundation reminds Canadians to limit their consumption of these products," says a statement.

    The Canadian food industry has been given two years to reduce trans fats content in foods. In the meantime, the monitoring program is releasing its results every six months. The first results were released in December 2007.

    At the end of the two year period, if levels are not brought within acceptable standards, the government has indicated it will bring in regulations to virtually eliminate trans fats in Canadian foods.

    According to the Foundation, trans fats raise so-called "bad" cholesterol (LDL) levels and lowers "good" cholesterol (HDL) levels and as a result, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Canadians are among the highest trans fats and saturated fat consumers in the world.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation says Canadians should take the following steps to protect themselves from the harmful effects of trans fats:

    Prepare meals at home and eat as much fresh food as possible.
    Eat five to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
    Eat lower-fat products.
    Include items from the four food groups in your daily diet.

    #2 Sandra E.

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      Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:07 PM

      Wow! Great info, thanks for posting.

      #3 jean-marcus

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        Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:30 PM

        thank god they are finally getting rid of it... trans fats is such a horrible thing... just cause its says 0 TRANS FATS you gotta check to make sure its not per serving cause they can legaly say taht if its less then a gram per serving and the serving might not be very big either so if you eat a normal portion it might be 2-3 grams of it.

        now they need to boycott high fructose corn syrup as well. that is just directly stored as fat because you cant break it down well because your body sees it as a chemical not a sugar

        #4 Samantha S

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          Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:17 PM

          I think New York City has banned trans fat from being used in food.... NYC girls, is that true? I'm with Jean-Marcus on the high fructose corn syrup being banned too! Great article!

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