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Canada’s Artificial Trans Fats Ban Comes Into Place — With a Phase-Out Period

Calling it a “very important milestone in terms of nutrition policy,” Health Canada has finally banned trans fats from the nation’s food supply. The artificial trans fats are made from partially hydrogenated oils and added to processed foods to extend shelf life. A majority of parliament members actually voted for the ban 15 years ago, but it’s taken this long for health officials to agree, CBC News reports — and, it will probably take another three years before the products are completely off the shelves.

This is a positive step for Canada when it comes to heart health, as it was when the U.S. finally decided that banning trans fats could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. Although it was about 50 years late to do so, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared war on trans fats. The thing is, in each case manufacturers have had long warning periods before they have to stop manufacturing the fats and even longer times granted for the products to get off the shelves.

And therein lies the problem: Despite WHO’s and major countries’ declarations, getting food makers to actually make the switch will be a country-by-country fight. And, as usual, it will be lower-income countries that will be shouldered with the burden of trans fats fights — mainly due to the fact that grocery manufacturers will argue with them tooth and nail.

Another concern about the trans fat bans, though, is what foods will manufacturers and health officials offer up to replace trans fats, as for decades trans fats were used as an aid to replace healthy, saturated fats. Will they finally admit that, contrary to decades of vilifying them, that diets high in healthy saturated fats are NOT responsible for heart disease?

Will they finally come around and acknowledge that these good fats actually increase the levels of large, fluffy LDL cholesterol — which is NOT linked to heart disease? Will they also start promoting not only saturated fat, but also monounsaturated fats (from avocados and nuts) and omega-3 fats as being beneficial to you?

Only time will tell, but here’s hoping they will finally see the light and admit what countless studies have already shown: The research has spelled it out loud and clear that saturated fats are beneficial for human health.

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