Can Fat Substitutes Help to Reduce Dietary

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Several studies have shown that using reduced-fat versions of food products can significantly reduce the amount of fat that people eat. For some people, eating less fat may lead to eating fewer calories and, eventually, to weight loss. As illustrated in the table above, by using reduced-fat foods, a typical lunch can be trimmed of one-third of its calories and three-fourths of its fat.

A common misconception about reduced-fat foods is that they also are low in calories. For many products, however, this is not the case. Most reduced-fat foods have had other ingredients added to replace the texture or flavor provided by fat, so that while the calories may be slightly lower in a fat-reduced product, the difference between it and a full-fat product may not be significant. With fat-modified products, as with all foods, portion size and calories still count.

Fat-modified foods can fit into a healthy eating plan. According to the American Dietetic Association, they offer a safe, feasible, and effective means to maintain the palatability of diets that are controlled in fat or calories. But they are only one of the many tools that can be used to achieve nutrition goals. Foods with fat substitutes should be consumed as part of an overall fatty acids: molecules rich in carbon and hydrogen; a component of fats enzyme: protein responsible for carrying out reactions in a cell absorption: uptake by the digestive tract healthful eating plan, such as that outlined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. see also Artificial Sweeteners; Dietary Guidelines for Americans; Fats.

Susan T. Borra


Diamond, L. (1997). "The Dietary Guidelines Alliance: Reaching Consumers with Meaningful Health Messages." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97(3):247.

Hahn, N. I. (1997). "Replacing Fat with Food Technology." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 3:15-16.

Heimbach, James T.; Van Der Riet, Brooke E.; and Egan, S. Kathleen. "Impact of the Use of Reduced-Fat Foods on Nutrient Adequacy" (1997). Annals of the New

York Academy of Sciences: Nutritional Implications of Macronutrient Substitutes 819:108-114.

Kurtzweil, Paula (1996). "Taking the Fat Out of Food." FDA Consumer 30(6).

Morgan, Rebecca; Sigman-Grant, Madeleine; Taylor, Dennis S.; Moriarty, Kristen; Fishell, Valerie; and Kris-Etherton, Penny (1997). "Impact of Macronutrient Substitutes on the Composition of the Diet and U.S. Food Supply." Annals of the New

York Academy of Sciences: Nutritional Implications of Macronutrient Substitutes 819:70-95.

Internet Resources

American Dietetic Association (1998). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Fat Replacers." Available from <>

  1. S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999). Healthy People 2000. Available from <>
  2. S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (2000). Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 5th ed. Available from <>

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