By Libby Davies : I know many of us try to eat nutritious foods to maintain good health. An important part of eating nutritious foods is to eat foods that are low in sodium (salt) and trans fats. Lowering your intake of sodium and trans fats can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic illnesses.
An important thing we can all do to make sure we are eating nutritiously is to read the Nutrition Facts table on processed foods. The amount of sodium and fat in a food will be listed on the Nutrition Factstable, using units in grams (g) or milligrams (mg). Next to these will be the ‘percentage of daily value’ (% Daily Value) of the nutrient. So not only does the Nutrition Facts table tell us how much sodium and fat are in a serving of that food, it will also tell us how much of our daily sodium and fat intake we are getting from
eating that food. Health Canada recommends that adults not eat more than 1,500mg of sodium each day and it is also recommended that adults eat minimal amounts of trans fats.
As we all work to eat nutritiously and take care of our health, there are also things the federal government can do to help us stay healthy. Processed foods contain the highest levels of sodium and trans fats in our diets; it is estimated that 77% of our sodium intake comes from these foods. The federal government has the power to ask food manufacturers to reduce the sodium and trans fats in our food, but Conservative government has repeatedly ignored the advice of health experts to lower the levels of sodium and trans fats in our food. They are protecting the food industry rather than our health.
That’s why I will be pushing the federal government to adopt a sodium reduction strategy, which is supported by the provincial governments, health care groups, and many Canadians. I will also be asking them to require food companies to reduce the level of trans fats in our food, an idea that began with an NDP motion on the issue in 2005 and has been recommended by health experts. I am fighting the federal government to stop listening to big food companies and do what’s right for our health. We are working hard to stay healthy, and the federal government should help us to make healthy choices.