Barriers to the adoption of reduced-fat diets in a UK population

J Am Diet Assoc. 1995 Mar;95(3):316-22. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(95)00082-8.


Objective: To assess perceived and actual barriers to dietary fat reduction.

Design: A 20-week intervention study was carried out to investigate the problems encountered by persons attempting to reduce their fat intake.

Subjects: Seventy subjects initially consuming moderately high-fat diets were recruited from the local area by newspaper advertisement. Sixty-one completed the study.

Intervention: Subjects were randomized into either a control or an experimental group. Subjects in the experimental group (n = 45) received instruction on reducing their intake of fat using current dietary recommendations. All subjects initially completed a questionnaire to assess their beliefs and attitudes regarding selected dietary changes, and the experimental group also completed a similar questionnaire at intervals during the study. Weighed diet records were completed by all subjects throughout the study.

Statistical analysis: Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine changes in nutrient intake. Univariate analysis of variance was used to examine differences in barriers encountered by most and least successful fat reducers.

Results: Perceived barriers reflected actual problems encountered. One of the most consistently reported problems was that of reduction in taste quality of the diet. Other problems included an increase in cost, decrease in convenience, lack of family support for certain changes, and an inability to judge the fat content of diets.

Applications/conclusions: Strategies aimed at improving the taste of low-fat diets, increasing awareness of fat intake, and increasing family support may be most effective in promoting greater adherence to dietary guidelines intended to achieve reductions in fat consumption.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / psychology*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Dietary Fats