The Chief Population Health Dietitian at Northern Health is applauding the move to ban trans fats.

Canada will outlaw trans fat additives in food by September and many health officials believe this will cut down heart attacks by 12,000 each year.

Flo Sheppard says it’s been a long process that’s finally come to fruition.

“It’s been a work in progress and there has been a couple of different tactics, I think there was an effort in terms of education, there’s effort in terms of voluntary education and now Health Canada as part of their healthy eating strategy has moved to the ban.”

“It supports creating an environment that helps people make healthy food choices – so there is the piece about us knowing what to do but it makes it easier if what we are able to purchase in grocery stores and when we’re eating out is also helpful in terms of making that choice.”

The move would mean Prince George and Northern BC residents who frequently shop at grocery stores will see one less category on the nutritional information box on their favourite food.

Sheppard adds this will be a game-changer when it comes to consumer labeling.

“With the ban, you won’t have that same requirement to be looking to ensure no trans fat or the lowest level of trans fat because we know that they have been removed from the diet and in terms of making food choices, it has the potential to simplify.”

Currently, trans fat can be most commonly found in several items we use on a daily basis when it comes to cooking and baking – some of the results might surprise you.

“We typically find those in things like kinds of margarine or cooking fats and shortening because they are made by partially hydrogenated vegetables are very high in trans fats and we would typically use those because they are more economical in terms of our baking.”

The World Health Organization would like all countries to ban trans fats within the next five years.

“The ones (Trans fats) that we were concerned about are those that are made by industry, so when they add hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make themselves stable, they get used in certain products and those trans fats are known to increase your heart disease risk potentially by increasing your LDL cholesterol, which is considered bad cholesterol and lowering your HDL cholesterol, which is good cholesterol.”

“It fosters the fatty build up in deposits and can clog your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack.”

The artificial fat is reportedly involved in at least
500,000 deaths each year.