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

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

Abstract

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.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cholesterol, HDL / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / analysis*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Industry
  • Food Labeling
  • Humans
  • Hydrogenation
  • Margarine
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Plant Oils
  • Trans Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Trans Fatty Acids / metabolism*

Substances

  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Plant Oils
  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Margarine