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J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Feb;99(2):177-83.

Impact of adopting lower-fat food choices on energy and nutrient intakes of American adults.

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University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Las Vegas, USA.



To evaluate the energy and nutrient intake of free-living men and women who choose foods consistent with different fat-reduction strategies.


For each year of the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals from 1989 through 1991, food codes were used to sort respondents by type of milk; type of meats; and type of cheese, yogurt, salad dressing, cake, and pudding (i.e., full-fat or fat-modified products) consumed.


A nationally representative sample of 3,313 men and 3,763 women who completed 3-day intake records and consumed either a reduced-fat or full-fat food from at least 1 of the 3 fat-reduction strategy categories.


Analysis of variance with the Scheffé test was used to analyze differences in energy and nutrient intake between exclusive users, mixed users, and nonusers of each strategy or combined strategies.


Regardless of fat-reduction strategy, men and women who used them reported significantly lower intakes of total fat (up to 18 g lower), saturated fat (up to 12 g lower), cholesterol (up to 75 mg lower) and energy compared with nonusers. Exclusive users of single strategies met or approached recommendations of the National Cholesterol Education Program for total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake; micronutrient intake varied depending on the strategy used. Skim milk users had the most favorable micronutrient intake, whereas lean meat users reported inadequate intake of zinc (men 63% and women 59% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances [RDAs]) and female users of fat-modified products reported inadequate intakes of vitamin E (64% of RDA) and zinc (65% of RDA). Multiple-strategy users achieved National Cholesterol Education Program goals and reported adequate micronutrient intakes and significantly lower energy intake. Mixed users of fat-modified products compared with nonusers of any fat-modified products had adequate micronutrient intake and lower intakes of total fat (32% vs 36% of energy for men and 32% vs 35% of energy for women) and saturated fat (11% vs 13% of energy for men and 11% vs 12% of energy for women). In addition, nonusers of any fat-modified strategy had the highest cholesterol and energy intake and the lowest intake of many micronutrients.


A variety of fat-reduction strategies can be implemented to reduce energy, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake. Some of the strategies were associated with an inadequate micronutrient intake, so additional dietary guidance is needed to ensure that all nutrient requirements are met. Furthermore, people who do not use any fat-reduction strategy or those who exclusively use lean meats or fat-modified products would benefit from understanding how to balance their food choices.

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