Is All Fat Unhealthy?
Fat is an important part of any diet, provided that the right fats are consumed. Healthy fats are unsaturated fats like polyunsaturates and monounsaturates, which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. They are found in foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and oils which are made from plants like corn, soybean, canola and sunflower.28 Saturated fats should be consumed in limited quantities. They are found in fats from meat and dairy sources and in refined oils.
Another type of fat is trans fat. Small amounts of trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based foods (e.g. meat).29 However, most trans fats are made during food processing through partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats; these are called industrial or synthetic trans fats.30 Research shows that synthetic trans fat can increase unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lower healthy highdensity lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.31 Therefore, Health Canada recommends choosing healthier foods that contain little or no trans fat.32
In Canada’s Food Guide, Health Canada suggests including a small amount of unsaturated fat in your diet every day. Vegetable oils, like canola or soybean are unsaturated and great for hearthealthy living because they lower bad cholesterol.34 They also help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Canola oil contains vitamin E, which has valuable antioxidant properties to fight cancer and heart disease, as well as vitamin K, which is vital for blood clotting.35
Canada was the first country to introduce mandatory labelling of trans fats.