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

      Abstract

      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.
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