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Interventions and public health nutrition

An assessment of the potential health impacts of food reformulation



Policies focused on food quality are intended to facilitate healthy choices by consumers, even those who are not fully informed about the links between food consumption and health. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the potential impact of such a food reformulation scenario on health outcomes.


We first created reformulation scenarios adapted to the French characteristics of foods. After computing the changes in the nutrient intakes of representative consumers, we determined the health effects of these changes. To do so, we used the DIETRON health assessment model, which calculates the number of deaths avoided by changes in food and nutrient intakes.


Depending on the reformulation scenario, the total impact of reformulation varies between 2408 and 3597 avoided deaths per year, which amounts to a 3.7–5.5% reduction in mortality linked to diseases considered in the DIETRON model. The impacts are much higher for men than for women and much higher for low-income categories than for high-income categories. These differences result from the differences in consumption patterns and initial disease prevalence among the various income categories.


Even without any changes in consumers’ behaviors, realistic food reformulation may have significant health outcomes.

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This research is an output of the OCAD project, funded by the French ANR (ANR 11 ALID 002 03), the FOODPOL project, funded by ‘INRA metaprogram DID’IT’, and the European SUSFANS project.

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Correspondence to L-G Soler.

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Leroy, P., Réquillart, V., Soler, LG. et al. An assessment of the potential health impacts of food reformulation. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 694–699 (2016).

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