Dietary strategies to reduce discretionary choice intake are commonly utilized in practice, but evidence on their relative efficacy is lacking. The aim was to compare the potential impact on nutritional intake of three strategies to reducing discretionary choices intake in the Australian adult (19–90 years) population. Dietary simulation modelling using data from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011–2012 was conducted (n
= 9341; one 24 h dietary recall). Strategies modelled were: moderation (reduce discretionary choices by 50%, with 0%, 25% or 75% energy compensation); substitution (replace 50% of discretionary choices with core choices); reformulation (replace 50% SFA with unsaturated fats, reduce added sugars by 25%, and reduce sodium by 20%). Compared to the base case (observed) intake, modelled intakes in the moderation scenario showed: −17.3% lower energy (sensitivity analyses, 25% energy compensation −14.2%; 75% energy compensation −8.0%), −20.9% lower SFA (−17.4%; −10.5%), −43.3% lower added sugars (−41.1%; −36.7%) and 17.7% lower sodium (−14.3%; −7.5%). Substitution with a range of core items, or with fruits, vegetables and core beverages only, resulted in similar changes in energy intake (−13.5% and −15.4%), SFA (−17.7% and −20.1%), added sugars (−42.6% and −43%) and sodium (−13.7% and −16.5%), respectively. Reformulating discretionary choices had minimal impact on reducing energy intake but reduced SFA (−10.3% to −30.9%), added sugars (−9.3% to −52.9%), and alcohol (−25.0% to −49.9%) and sodium (−3.3% to −13.2%). The substitution and reformulation scenarios minimized negative changes in fiber, protein and micronutrient intakes. While each strategy has strengths and limitations, substitution of discretionary choices with core foods and beverages may optimize the nutritional impact.
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