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The Facts on Trans Fats

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In moderation, fat can be part of a healthy diet. Here’s the low-down on trans fats and milk products.

Among other functions, fat helps the body absorb the fat of certain vitamins (A, D, E and K) necessary to maintain good health.

However, the type and the amount of fat might constitute a health risk. To prevent heart disease, you should limit your intake of industrial trans fats, as they are known to raise the level of bad cholesterol in your blood and to decrease the level of the good one.

Industrial trans fats are found in:

  • vegetable shortening,
  • partially-hydrogenated margarines,
  • and the foods made with these fats such as many commercial deep-fried foods, baked goods and snacking foods.

According to research conducted by Health Canada, the trans fat content of these foods may be as high as 45% of the total fat consumed.

What about naturally-occurring trans fats?

Studies published to date suggest that there is a difference between naturally-occurring trans fat and the industrial form. Naturally-occurring trans fat comes from ruminant animals (cow, sheep, goat). Dairy products do contain a very small amount of naturally-occurring trans fat (2 to 6 % the total fat).

These fats have not been associated with risks of heart disease. In fact, studies suggest a type of trans fat, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may protect against certain types of cancer. Research is in the early stages at this point but the results seem promising.

A healthy perspective

Dairy products are part of a healthy diet and offer benefits beyond bone health. It's important to consume every day the recommended number of servings of milk products as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide.

When it comes to fat, moderation is the key. There is a wide variety of dairy products with different fat content. It's up to you to choose the one that suits you better.

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