Nutrition & Food Access
Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide is produced by Health Canada to promote a healthy eating pattern that meets your nutritional needs and reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
Having the recommended amount and type of food and following the tips from Canada's Food Guide for making wise and healthy food choices will help:
- Meet your needs for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
- Reduce your risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis
- Contribute to your overall health and well-being
- Maintain a healthy weight
Canada's Food Guide provides guidelines on how much food is needed each day for different age groups. These guidelines will help you meet your nutritional needs.
Fat is an important part of what you eat, however it is important to think about the amount and type of fat that you eat. There are certain fats that are considered to be healthy (e.g. unsaturated) and others to be unhealthy (e.g. saturated and trans fat). Eating unhealthy fats and too much of any type of fat can increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Try using recipes with lower fat cooking methods to reduce the amount of fat that you eat.
Unsaturated fats are considered to be healthy because they provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends that you include a small amount of healthier fats in what you eat each day. It recommends 2 - 3 tablespoons, or 30 - 45 millilitres daily.
There are two main types of unsaturated fats:
- Found in all vegetable oils and in high amounts in sesame, safflower, soybean, corn and sunflower-seed oils. It is also found in oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout), and most nuts and seeds.
- Found in all vegetable oils and in high amounts in olive, canola, peanut, sunflower and sesame oils. It is also found in avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.
Saturated fats and trans fats are considered to be unhealthy because they have been shown to raise "bad" cholesterol levels. This increases your risk of heart disease. As well, trans fats not only raises "bad" cholesterol but also lowers "good" cholesterol at the same time.
- Found in high amounts in meat, poultry, and higher fat milk and dairy products. It is also found in butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils.
- Trans fat is artificially created when a liquid vegetable oil is made into a solid fat, such as margarine or shortening. It is commonly found in commercially prepared baked foods (e.g. muffins, donuts, cookies), deep fried foods (e.g. chicken nuggets, fish sticks, French fries), ready-to-eat and frozen foods (e.g. quiche, burritos, pizza), and convenience foods (e.g. taco shells, pie crust, muffin and cake mixes). Visit EatRight Ontario for more information on trans fat.
Trans fat information in different languages