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Heart Health

Q. Butter vs. Margarine… that is the question!

A.  Many people feel that because butter is natural that it is a better choice than margarine.  Butter is made of a fat called saturated fat. Saturated fat is responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL (lousy cholesterol). High levels of LDL cholesterol may put us at risk of heart disease. Use butter only on occasion.

There are two types of margarine. Those that are made with hydrogenated oils (you’ll have to check your ingredients list) may raise blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL. In addition, these margarines lower our HDL (healthy cholesterol). They are also ten times more likely to cause heart disease than saturated fats. Avoid hydrogenated margarines.

The second kind of margarine is made from non-hydrogenated oils. This is our best choice because these oils are heart healthy oils, for example: canola oil or soybean oil. These oils actually help to lower our LDL and raise our HDL. Non-hydrogenated margarines are made spreadable by adding small amounts of tropical oils such as palm or coconut oils so that you can spread it onto your toast rather than pour it.

Q. Are the serving sizes on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating raw or cooked?

A. The serving sizes in Canada’s Food Guide are for cooked foods. For example, the Grains products group indicates one cup of rice or pasta is equal to two servings of grain products. This refers to cooked rice or pasta.

Canada's Food Guide  

Q. What are Trans Fats?

A. Trans fats are made when liquid fats are changed into solid fats. This process is called hydrogenation. Hydrogenated fats or Trans fats can increase your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.

Q. What foods have Trans Fats in them?

A. Trans Fats are found in hydrogenated margarine, packaged or processed foods, deep fried foods, fast food, ingredients such as shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Q. Can I find the amount of Trans Fat on every label?

A.  Yes, every label will have to display the amount of Trans Fat contained in the food.

Location and contact

Clinical Nutrition

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
H-wing, 3rd floor,
room H314
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Current Patients *

Phone: 416-480-4222   

* Please note that due to regulations, reception may not be able to provide information directly, but can hopefully put post-discharge patients in touch with the Registered Dietitian that provided care.

SUNDEC appointments

Phone: 416-480-4805

Patient Food Services

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 62390