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J Am Diet Assoc. 1990 Jan;90(1):42-50, 53.

Diet intervention methods to reduce fat intake: nutrient and food group composition of self-selected low-fat diets.

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  • 1Division of Human Development and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Minneapolis 55414.


A multicentered pilot study was conducted to test an intervention protocol designed to reduce fat intake to 15% of energy intake. Eligible subjects were postmenopausal women with stage II breast cancer whose baseline fat intake was more than 30% of energy intake. The low-fat diet intervention protocol consisted of bi-weekly individual counseling sessions with emphasis on substitution of lower-fat foods for high-fat foods and maintenance of nutritional adequacy. Nutrient intakes were calculated from 4-day food records collected at baseline and after 3 months of diet intervention. Mean daily fat intake for the 17 patients on the low-fat diet dropped significantly from 38.4 +/- 4.3% of energy intake at baseline to 22.8 +/- 7.8% at 3 months (p less than .001). A 25% reduction in mean energy intake, from 1,840 +/- 419 kcal at baseline to 1,365 +/- 291 kcal at 3 months, was accompanied by significant increases in protein and carbohydrate as percent of energy intake. A mean weight loss of 2.8 kg and a 7.7% reduction in serum cholesterol were observed; both changes were significant at the p less than .01 level. Absolute intakes of zinc and magnesium were significantly reduced. However, mean intake on the low-fat diet for 14 vitamins and minerals, including zinc and magnesium, exceeded two-thirds of the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). When expressed as nutrient density (i.e., amount of nutrient per 1,000 kcal), increases were observed for all micronutrients. These results support the hypothesis that a nutritionally adequate low-fat diet can be successfully implemented in a highly motivated, free-living population.

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