Should Canada Ban Trans Fats?

Publications, Role of Government, Rolf Penner, Rural

Executive Summary

  • A bill that bans trans fats in the Canadian food supply has passed the House of Commons.
  • Trans fats were created as a healthier replacement for saturated fats.
  • The evidence against their use is based on epidemiology, statistical correlations of data that do not demonstrate cause and effect.
  • Metabolic studies of trans fats are ambiguous and epidemiological calculations of relative risk can mislead.
  • In the rush to publish, researchers are liable to present confidence intervals in the worst possible light and exaggerate their import.
  • The relative risk numbers for trans fats from a number of studies are too low to cause alarm.
  • Extrapolations of already wobbly risk factors into human body counts are completely unjustifiable.
  • The ban will make food more expensive and open Canada to trade retaliation. A better recourse is to encourage a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
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