Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Food Reformulation

Wouldn’t it be great if we could eat foods that both satisfy our taste buds and keep us healthy? If Americans are eating more and more fast food every year, why don’t we find ways to sell more fast food that’s also healthy food?

Food reformulation holds the promise of improving health without restricting choice, but also presents the risk that companies will use small changes to market choices that remain unhealthy overall. For example, a number of fast food companies have reduced their use of trans fatty acids in cooking oils. While reducing trans fats should have a positive impact on consumer health, focusing on only one ingredient and ignoring the products’ overall nutritional profile would be a grave mistake. For example, even if French fries at your favorite fast food restaurant are now made in trans fat-free oil, they still will not be any lower in total fat or sodium.

At the Rudd Center, we recognize that the food industry plays a central role in what people eat. In addition to calling for restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods, the Rudd Center supports efforts by industry to improve the nutritional content of the products that they do sell.