Impact of fat substitutes on fat intake

Lipids. 1996 Mar;31 Suppl:S293-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02637094.


Dietary fat is the number one nutrition concern of Americans. In response to rising consumer demand for reduced-fat foods, the food industry has developed a multitude of nonfat, lowfat, and reduced-fat versions of regular food products. To generate reduced-fat or fat-free products that have the same organoleptic characteristics of the regular fat version, food manufacturers frequently employ fat substitutes in the formulation of these foods. Fat substitutes are made from either carbohydrate, protein, or fat, or a combination of these components. Researchers have questioned the impact of fat substitutes on both fat and caloric intake. The majority of research studies in which fat substitutes were either covertly or overtly substituted for dietary fat indicate that in short-term, carefully-controlled conditions, fat substitutes can decrease both dietary fat intake and percentage of calorie intake from fat. However, individuals compensate for the caloric deficit created by the fat substitutes by increasing their consumption of other macronutrients, primarily carbohydrate. The long-term effect of fat substitutes on the fat intake of free-living individuals and weight control are unknown. People tend to eat more of a food when they know that food is reduced in fat. Fat substitutes should not be considered a substitute for sound nutrition education and a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Fat Substitutes
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Food, Formulated*
  • Humans
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives
  • Sucrose / pharmacology


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Fat Substitutes
  • Fatty Acids
  • Sucrose
  • sucrose polyester