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Trans facts 

To the editor,

This letter is in response to the letter to the editor that recently appeared in The Coast regarding trans fats and the Heart and Stroke Foundation ("Trans spats," Kenneth Cunningham, January 31).

The risk for heart disease and stroke is determined by a series of risk factors. Current levels of physical inactivity and obesity continue to be of great concern as risk factors; however, the issue with trans fat is primarily related to the risk factor of high blood cholesterol. An individual could have a healthy body weight but have high cholesterol and be at risk of heart disease.

A major concern with processed trans fats is that unlike other fats, they lower good blood cholesterol while raising bad cholesterol. Trans fats are not a necessary part of our diet and do not contribute value to it.

The work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is to reduce trans fats in our food supply, not to ban specific foods or prevent us from indulging in a treat from time to time. Food products will still be available, but processed in a different way to reduce the health risk associated with eating them. Denmark and New York City have already removed processed trans fats from their food supply.

Addressing the trans fat content in food is only one example of Heart and Stroke Foundation's work to support the health and wellness of Canadians and Nova Scotians. In Nova Scotia, we are involved in a variety of community- and policy-based initiatives to support healthy lifestyles and address our particularly high risk factor rates.

February is Heart Month and, with the support of Nova Scotians, we have made many advances in research and prevention. However, work still remains if we are to fulfill our vision towards generations free of heart disease and stroke. This doesn't mean free of choice—it means creating environments that support healthy choices.

By Elaine Shelton, P.Dt.

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Vol 26, No 29
December 13, 2018

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