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Canada’s artificial trans fat ban takes effect today

While many fast food restaurants like McDonald's and Wendy's have eliminated trans fats from their french fries, trans fats have lingered in certain baked goods and other menu items


For some runners, your post-race treat is about to change. Canada has officially banned artificial trans fats as of Monday. The ban includes a three-year phase-out period for retailers to clear products containing trans fats from their shelves. 

Health Canada now includes partially hydrogenated oils on its “List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances.” PHOs are the main source of industry-produced trans fats and are normally use to increase shelf life and preserve foods. 

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Heart.org reports that trans fats raise your bad cholesterol levels while lowering your good cholesterol levels. This combination can result in negative health effects such as stroke and heart disease.

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Trans fats are most common in foods like cakes, pastries, doughnuts, and frozen pizzas. Several Canadian foods that can contain trans fats are: french fries, refrigerated dough products, coffee creamer, frozen pizza, chips and crackers, chicken nuggets, and most chocolate. You can find trans fat levels on nutrition labels. 

While many fast food restaurants have eliminated artificial trans fats from their french fries, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, trans fats have lingered in certain baked goods and in other places on their menus. For example, Tim Horton’s includes trans fats in some of their doughnuts, like the Honey Cruller, which contains 0.3 grams of trans fat. 

The World Health Organization claims market deregulation is a contributor in rising obesity.

Trans fats aren’t just found in fast food. Sit-down restaurants can be guilty as well. For time-poor runners, packing lunches and cooking dinners every night can feel a little unrealistic. It’s much easier to just head to a local restaurant and order a quick wrap or stir-fry. It looks healthy, and therefore you think it is. But a restaurant is not a swap for a home cooked meal. When cooking at home, you are aware of each ingredient that goes into the pot and so you’re more likely to opt for simple, healthier choices.

Melissa Piercell, ND, says, “Artificial trans fats are still in a shocking amount of things. It’s quite inflammatory to our bodies and can lead to various health problems. The implementation of this law is projected to save about 12,000 lives a year.”

While these new laws may inhibit your ability to eat your favourite fast food or pastry, eliminating trans fats is better for health long-term, and consequently, your running.