09 October 2018

The Philippine Embassy in Ottawa reported that the government of Canada banned artificial trans fats in food product. The announcement came after the majority of Canadian members of Parliament supported the law that would completely rid food products of artificial trans fat within two years — the grace period given to domestic manufacturers and retailers in Canada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned artificial trans fats from American products since 2016.

Artificial trans fats or trans fatty acids are manufactured through an industrial process that use hyrdogen to transform liquid vegetable oils into solid. Artificial trans fats are popular because they are inexpensive to produce, have long shelf life, and enhance food taste and texture.

Trans fats, however, elevate bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) levels and lower good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) levels in humans, enhancing risks of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

Since New York City and several counties in New York state implemented a restaurant ban on trans fats in 2007, a study found that hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes in those areas shrank by 6% starting three years after the ban vis-a-vis counties without the ban. This translates to 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 people, according to Dr. Eric Brandt, a Yale University cardiology fellow.