Research Article| Volume 97, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S76-S81, July 1997

Download started.


Can you have your Low-Fat Cake and Eat it too? the Role of Fat-Modified Products


      The American public, along with the medical and scientific communities, has certain expectations about the consumption of fat-modified foods; specifically, that such consumption will result in positive health benefits for both the individual and the population. Initial attempts by consumers to reduce fat intake required elimination of favorite foods or substitution of those foods with less palatable offerings. The food industry now has developed more than 5,600 reduced-fat products of varying palatability. However, recent questions have arisen regarding the potential use and anticipated health benefits of these products. This commentary explores the underlying assumptions and expectations surrounding the use of fat-modified products, examines current usage rates of these products, and reviews the reported impact of these products on overall diet by relating these issues to two theoretic frameworks (Diffusion of Innovations and Stages of Change). Finally, some suggestions regarding realistic expectations for these products in the context of an overall diet are presented. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997;97(suppl):S76-S81.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Dietary Goals for the United States. Select Committee On Nutrition and Human Needs: United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC1977
        • Food and Nutrition Board.
        Diet and Health. National Academy Press, Washington, DC1989
      2. Nutrition and Your Health. US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, Hyattsville, Md1980
      3. Healthy People 2000. US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC1991 (DHHS (PHS) Publication 91-50212.)
      4. Healthy People 2000 Review 1995-96. US Department of Health and Human Services, Hyattsville, Md1996 (DHHS (PHS) publication 96-1256.)
        • Dornblaser L.
        New product news.
        Prepared Foods. 1996; 4: 37
      5. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.
        Federal Register. 1993; 58
        • Rolls B.J.
        Role of fat substitutes in obesity prevention and treatment.
        in: Anderson A.H. Bouchard C. Lau D. Leiter L. Mendelson R. Progress in Obesity Research. Jon Libbey and Company Ltd./7th International Congress on Obesity, London, UK1996: 459-464
        • Miller D.L.
        • Rolls B.J.
        Implications of fat reduction in the diet.
        in: Roller S. Jones S.A. Handbook of Fat Replacers. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla1996: 27-44
        • Allred J.B.
        Too much of a good thing? An overemphasis on eating low-fat foods may be contributing to the alarming increase in overweight among US adults.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1995; 95: 417-418
        • Calorie Control Council.
        Calorie Control Commentary. 1996; 18: 1-5
      6. Third Report on Nutrition Monitoring in the United States. Vol 1. Board for Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Washington, DC1995
        • Ernst N.D.
        • Obarzanek E.
        • Clark M.B.
        • Briefel R.R.
        • Brown C.D.
        • Donato K.
        Cardiovascular health risks related to overweight.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1997; 7: S47-S51
        • National Cholesterol Education Program.
        Report of Expert Panel on Population Strategies for Blood Cholesterol Reduction. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Washington, DC1990 (NIH Pub 90-3046)
        • Carroll K.K.
        Dietary fats and cancer.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 1991; 53: 1064S
        • Rogers E.M.
        Diffusions of Innovations. 3rd ed. The Free Press, New York. NY1983
        • Current Industrial Reports.
        Major Household Appliances. US Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC1992 (MA-36F(79)-1 through MA-36F(91)-1)
        • Current Population Reports Special Studies.
        Computer use in the United States.
        American Demographics. 1988; 155: 40-41
        • Pierce J.P.
        International comparison of trends in cigarette smoking prevalence.
        Am J Public Health. 1979; 2: 152-157
        • Baldwin T.T.
        • Falciglia G.A.
        Applications of cognitive behavioral theories to dietary change in clients.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1995; 95: 1315-1317
        • Sigman-Grant M.
        Stages of Change.
        Nutr Today. 1996; 31: 162-170
        • Prochaska J.O.
        Why do we behave the way we do?.
        Canad J Cardiol. 1995; 11: 20A-25A
      7. Frazao E, Allshouse JE. Size and Growth of the Nutritionally Improved Foods Market. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture; 1996. Agricultural Information Bulletin 723.

        • Keenan D.P.
        • Achterberg C.
        • Kris-Etherton P.M.
        • Aubsabha R.
        • Von Eye A.
        Use of qualitative and quantitative methods to define behavioral fat-reduction strategies and their relationship to dietary fat reduction in the Patterns of Dietary Change Study.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1996; 96: 1245-1250,
        • Kristal A.R.
        • Shattuck A.L.
        • Henry H.J.
        Patterns of dietary behavior associated with selecting diets low in fat.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1990; 90: 214-220
      8. Kanders BS, Blackburn GL, Lavin PT. The long-term effect of as-partame on body weight among obese women. In: Ditschuneit H, Grics FA, Hauner H, Schusdziurra V, Wechsler JG. Obesity in Europe. 1993. 247-252.

        • Siggaard R.
        • Raben A.
        • Astrup A.
        Weight loss during 12 weeks ad libitum carbohydrate-rich diet in overweight and normal-weight subjects at a Danish work site.
        Obesity Research. 1996; 4: 347-355
      9. National Eating Trends. NET Powerviewer ‘95. The NPD Group, Illinois.

      10. Douglass JS, Heimbach JT, Waylett DK, Sever BE, Peterson BJ. Dietary impact of fat-free food products. In: Finley JW, Armstrong DK, Nagy S, Robinson SF. Hypemutritious Foods. Auburndale, Fla: Agscience; 1996.

      11. Heimbach JT, van der Reit BE, Egan SK. Impact of the use of reduced fat foods on nutrient adequacy in children and adults. In: Nutritional Implications of Macronutrient Substitutes. New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences; in press.

        • Peterson S.L.
        Adoption of Lower-fat Food Choices by American Men, Women and Children. The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Penn1996 (Dissertation.)
      12. Peterson, SL, Achterberg C, Sigman-Grant M. Development of a novel sorting procedure for CSFII data to describe use of lower-fat food choices by Americans from 1989-91. Family Economics and Nutrition Review. In press.

        • Food and Nutrition Board.
        Recommended Dietary Allowances. 10th ed. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC1989
        • Poppitt S.D.
        • Prentice A.M.
        Energy density and its role in the control of food intake.
        Appetite. 1996; 26: 153-174
        • Rolls B.J.
        Impact of sugar and fat substitutes on food intake.
        in: Brownell K.D. Fairburn C.G. Eating Disorders and Obesity A Comprehensive Handbook. Guilford Press, New York, NY1995: 457-460