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J AOAC Int. 2009 Sep-Oct;92(5):1258-76.

Trans fatty acids: current contents in Canadian foods and estimated intake levels for the Canadian population.

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Health Canada, Health Products and Food Branch, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, 251 Sir Frederick Banting Dr, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0K9.


Research conducted in the mid-1990s indicated that the levels of trans fats in Canadian diets were among the highest in the world. The consumption of trans fats raises blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, while reducing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol. In June 2007, Health Canada called on the food industry to voluntarily reduce levels of trans fats in vegetable oils and soft (tub)-margarines to < 2% of total fat, and in all other foods, to < 5%. Industry must show satisfactory progress by June 2009, or Health Canada might have to introduce legislation to ensure that recommended limits are achieved. Since 2005, Health Canada has been performing a national assessment of prepackaged and restaurant foods that likely contain trans fats. From 2005 to 2009, 1120 samples were analyzed, of which 852 or approximately 76% met the recommended trans fat limits. As a result of reformulation, most of the products had decreased trans + saturated fat content. The estimated average intake of trans fatty acids (TFA) in Canada significantly dropped from the high value of 8.4 g/day in the mid-1990s to 3.4 g/day (or 1.4% food energy) in 2008. However, this TFA intake of 1.4% of energy is still above the World Health Organization recommended limit of TFA intake of < 1% of energy, which suggests that the Canadian food industry needs to put more effort into reducing the TFA content in its products, especially in tub-margarines, donuts, and bakery products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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