Learn to make healthier food choices by using the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged foods. Saturated and trans fats are found in the Nutrition Facts table.
Saturated fat is a type of fat found in food. It has been shown to raise LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. High LDL-cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
Trans fat is made from a chemical process known as "partial hydrogenation." This is when liquid oil is made into a solid fat.
Like saturated fat, trans fat has been shown to raise LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL-cholesterol are a risk factor for heart disease.
Unlike saturated fat, trans fat also lowers HDL or "good" cholesterol. A low level of HDL-cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
Most Canadians should lower their intake of saturated and trans fats to reduce their risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat is found in many foods:
A healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. Learn more about nutrition claims.
Until recently, most of the trans fat found in a typical Canadian diet came from margarines (especially hard margarines), commercially fried foods and bakery products that were made with shortening, margarine or oils containing partially hydrogenated oils and fats. These products included cakes, cookies, crackers, croissants, doughnuts, fried and breaded foods, muffins, pastries and other snack foods. The food supply is rapidly changing and the trans fat content of many of these products has now been reduced. However, it is still important to look at the Nutrition Facts table to ensure the food product you are buying has only a little or no trans fat.
Trans fat is also found naturally in low levels in some meat and dairy products. That's why you may see trans fat in the Nutrition Facts table for these products, even though hydrogenated oil and shortening are not in the ingredient list.
If a food has less than 0.2 grams of trans fat per serving AND is low in saturated fat, the food manufacturer can promote the product as free of trans fat. Learn more about nutrition claims.
Saturated fat and trans fats have one combined % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts table. Both have negative effects on blood cholesterol levels and health.
For example, in the Nutrition Facts table below, the food product has 7 g of saturated and 0.5 g of trans fats for a total of 7.5 g. The product would therefore, have a % Daily Value for saturated and trans fats of 38%.
(7.5 g ÷ 20 g) × 100 = 38%
Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.