Fats: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Health Canada

It’s Your Health

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On this page:

The issue

The type and amount of fat you eat are important. You need some fat in your diet, but too much can be bad for your health. Also, some types of fat (saturated and trans fats) may increase your risk of developing heart disease and should be limited.

What is fat?

Fat is an important nutrient for your health. It plays many different roles in your body:

  • It gives you energy (also called calories).
  • It helps your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • It helps your body grow and develop.

There are different kinds of fat in foods:

While you do need some fat in your diet, it is important not to eat too much and to choose the right type.

The good: unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fat is a type of fat found in the foods you eat. Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fat also provides omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Choose foods with unsaturated fat as part of a balanced diet using Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.

Even though it is a “good fat,” having too much unsaturated fat may lead to having too many calories. This may cause weight gain and increase your risk of developing obesitytype 2 diabetesheart disease and certain types of Next link will take you to another Web site cancer.

There are two main types of unsaturated fats:

  1. monounsaturated fat, which can be found in:
    • avocados
    • nuts and seeds (like cashews, pecans, almonds and peanuts)
    • vegetable oils (like canola, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame and sunflower)
  2. polyunsaturated fat, which can be found in:
    • fatty fish (like herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and smelt)
    • fish oils
    • nuts and seeds (like cashews, pecans, almonds and peanuts)
    • vegetable oils (like canola, corn, flaxseed, soybean and sunflower)

The bad: saturated fats

Saturated fat is a type of fat found in food. It has been shown to raiseLDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. Having high LDL-cholesterol levels increases your risk for heart disease.

Saturated fat is found in many foods:

  • animal foods (like beef, chicken, lamb, pork and veal)
  • coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
  • dairy products (like butter, cheese and whole milk)
  • lard
  • shortening

Choosing lower-fat meat and dairy products can help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

Use vegetable oil or soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats instead of butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.

The ugly: trans fats

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, which increases your risk for heart disease. Unlike saturated fat, trans fat also lowers HDL or “good” cholesterol. A low level of HDL-cholesterol is also a risk factor for heart disease.

Until recently, most of the trans fat found in a typical Canadian diet came from:

  • margarines (especially hard margarines)
  • commercially fried foods
  • bakery products made with shortening, margarine or oils containing partially hydrogenated oils and fats (including cakes, cookies, crackers, croissants, doughnuts, fried and breaded foods, muffins, pastries and other snack foods)

If a product has less than 0.2 grams of trans fat AND less than 0.5 g of saturated fat, the food manufacturer can say that the product is trans-fat-free. Learn more about nutrition claims.

Our food supply is rapidly changing and the trans fat content of many of these products has now been reduced. But it is still important to look at the Nutrition Facts table to make sure the food product you are buying has only a little or no trans fat.

Health tips

In general

  • Eat a small amount of unsaturated fats each day. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. Examples of foods with unsaturated fats include: nuts and seeds, fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), and vegetable oils.
  • Use the % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts table on food product labels to find out how much fat there is in the food you buy.

At the grocery store

  • Always look at the Nutrition Facts table to choose and compare foods.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat, skinless chicken and turkey. Or remove the skin before cooking.
  • Buy fish every week, like herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout.
  • Choose lower-fat dairy products.
  • Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fat.
  • Buy fewer pre-packaged foods and “ready-to-eat” meals.
  • Buy vegetables, fruit and whole grain products with no added fat.

At home

  • Have meat alternatives like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and tofu.
  • Use vegetable oils like canola, olive and soybean.
  • Use small amounts of vegetable oils for stir-frying or sautéing. A teaspoon is usually enough.
  • Heat oil before frying to prevent the food from soaking up the oil.
  • Fill a spray bottle with vegetable oil to spray your pans instead of greasing.
  • Substitute soft margarine for hard margarine, butter or lard in baking.
  • Make your own salad dressing with canola or olive oil. Add balsamic, rice wine or other vinegars. Flavour with lemon juice, dry or Dijon mustard, garlic and herbs.

Eating out

  • Check the nutrition information of menu items before you order, and choose foods with less fat. This information may be on the restaurant’s website, on a poster, or in a pamphlet at the restaurant.
  • Ask for gravy, sauces and salad dressings “on the side.” Use only small amounts.
  • Order smaller portions or share with someone.

How much fat do I need?

The amount of fat you need each day depends on your age.

Recommended amount of fat (as a percentage of total daily calories)

Young children (ages 1 to 3)
30% to 40%
Children and teens (ages 4-18)
25% to 35%
Adults (aged 19 and older)
20% to 35%

The best way to achieve these recommendations is by followingCanada’s Food Guide.

Understanding the % Daily Value

The Daily Value for the amount of fat used in nutrition labelling is 65 g (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).

For example, if a product’s Nutrition Facts table shows 8 g of fat, the % Daily Value for fat is 12%.

(8 g ÷ 65 g) × 100 = 12%.

So if you eat this product, you will take in 12% of the recommended daily total of fat.

5% DV or less is a little.
15% DV or more is a lot.



Health Canada manipulates the numbers in favor of business at the expense of Canadian’s health

Sweet heavens: Statscan finds average Canadian eats 26 tsp of sugar a day

A new report released Wednesday by Statistics Canada has, for the first time, offered a comprehensive snapshot of how much sugar Canadians consume each day. On average, people across the country down the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day, which accounts for about 21 per cent of all calories consumed.

That is an average of 109 lbs each. And Canada does not have a daily value for sugar on food labels. Simple reason the DV % would be of the charts. Instead Health Canada protects the sugar industry instead of the health of Canadians.

By the way the same deception goes on for fat also. Health Canada bases the fat consumption on 65 grams of fat per day or 30% instead of a realistic 20 grams of fat a day for 10% of calories. As a result fatty foods get a free ride on the DV calculation. Canadians being deceived by Health Canada once again.

Canada’s Recommendation for Fat is a whopping 30% of calories from fat daily

Symbol of the Government of Canada

The Percent Daily Value (% DV)
Read on to understand why the %DV is useless.

Here is a good guide:
% Daily Value,
5% is a little, 15% is a lot

The Percent Daily Value (% DV) can help you choose foods that are healthier for you. The % DV is found on the right-hand side of the Nutrition Facts table.

What is the % Daily Value?

The % DV is a guide to help you choose healthier foods. The % DV shows you if a specific amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.

  • 5% DV or less is a little
  • 15% DV or more is a lot

The % DV is not meant to track your total nutrient intake for the day. This is because some of the foods you eat (like vegetables, fruit, and fresh meat) don’t have a Nutrition Facts table.

Healthy Eating and the
Nutrition Facts table

The % DV for the following nutrients must be listed on the Nutrition Facts table:

Protein does not have a % DV since most Canadians get enough of it in their diet.
Poor excuse for not having a number. Fats are recommended at 30%,
carbohydrates at 60% so Protein is 10% of calories. Most Canadians get far             more than that and much more than they need. 

Sugars do not have a % DV because there is no recommended amount of sugar for a healthy population. WHY? Is sugar getting a free ride here? The correct amount of sugar per day is very close to zero sugar. Stats Canada says every Canadian is eating 109 lbs of sugar a year,2 lbs a week and they  have no DV recommendation. We are paying Health Canada to put out this kind of pure crap.

Did you know?

Listing the % DV for the following nutrients is optional:

Cholesterol, folate, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals.

How to use the % DV?

You can use the % DV to:

  • Choose products that are higher in the nutrients you want more of, and lower in the nutrients you want less of.

Here are some nutrients you may want…

Less of

  • fat                                    You set the DV based on a whopping 30% Fat
  • saturated and trans fats       and now you say reduce the fat intake.
  • sodium

More of

  • fibre
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • iron
  • Compare two different food products to make healthier food choices for you and your family.

How is the % DV calculated?

The % DV for a nutrient is calculated by dividing the amount of the nutrient contained in the serving size of a food product by its Daily Value and then multiplying that number by 100.

Example: If a food product has 3 mg of iron and the Daily Value for iron is 14 mg, the % DV for iron would be 21%.

(3 mg ÷ 14 mg) × 100 = 21% DV.

Did you know?

The % DV column on the Nutrition Facts table is not meant to add up to 100%. Each nutrient in the Nutrition Facts table has its own Daily Value.

Daily Values

The Daily Values for nutrients are based on the highest recommended intakes. They apply to most people ages 2 and over, but do not include extra nutrient needs for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Canada’s food guide daily value of calories from fat are based on 2000 calories a day of which they recommend that you consume 30% of your calories from fat. Worst still your daily value % are based on this high inflated percentage thus making the DV % low for fatty foods like milk and cheese. I did the math for you see below.

See Daily Values

Nutrient Daily Value (DV)
Fat 65 g x 9= 600 Calories    or    30% of daily calories
Saturated and trans fats 20 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2400 mg
Carbohydrate 300 g x4= 1200 Calories     or    60% of daily calories
Fibre 25 g
Sugars no DV
Protein no DV
Vitamin A 1000 RE
Vitamin C 60 mg
Calcium 1100 mg
Iron 14 mg

Note: RE=retinol equivalents