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Men underreport calorie intake 12-14 percent, women 16-20 percent
Wednesday, October 13, 2004 6:39 am Email this article
Men underreport calorie intake 12 to 14 percent, and women underreport it 16 to 20 percent according to a study from researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
This was using a self-reported 24-hour dietary recall, which was then checked against unbiased biomarkers—doubly labeled water and urinary nitrogen.
(Doubly labeled water can be used to determine how many calories a person has consumed, and urinary nitrogen can determine how much protein a person has eaten.)
Underreporting by food frequency questionnaire: 31-36 percent by men, 34-38 percent by women
Underreporting was worse when using a self-reported food frequency questionnaire. With this method, men underreported calorie intake by 31-36 percent, women by 34-38 percent.
I have also read that the longer you wait to have a patient wait to recall what they ate, the greater the amount that is underreported.
The implication is that doctors should be skeptical about how few calories patients claim that they eat, especially if you are asking them to recall what they ate a few days ago.
The implication for patients is that if you really want to know how much you eat, it is probably necessary that you carry around a small note pad around and write down everything you eat at the time that you eat it so that you don’t forget. Otherwise, your mind might conveniently forget some of what you have eaten.
Subjects: 484 people, 40-69 years old
The study involved 484 men and women ages 40- to 69-years-old from Montgomery County, Maryland.
Subar A, Kipnis V, Troiano R, Midthune D, Schoeller D, Bingham S, Sharbaugh C, Trabulsi J, Runswick S, Ballard-Barbash R, Sunshine J, Schatzkin A. Using intake biomarkers to evaluate the extent of dietary misreporting in a large sample of adults: the open study. Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Jul 1, 158(1):1-13.
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