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J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Sep;98(9):1015-20.

Use of food quotients in human doubly labeled water studies: comparable results obtained with 4 widely used food intake methods.

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  • 1Energy Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer US Dpartment of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Information on the macronutrient composition of the diet is needed in doubly labeled water studies to convert measured rates of carbon dioxide production into values for total energy expenditure. There is no general consensus, however, about the best method to determine food intake for this purpose. Four common methods of measuring food intake (7-day weighed food intake, 24-hour recall, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Block and Willett food frequency questionnaires) were tested for their ability to provide comparable food quotient and total energy expenditure data in doubly labeled water studies in 10 young and 10 older women. All methods gave mean values for total energy expenditure that were within 1% of each other. Individual values obtained using the 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaires were within +/- 3% (standard deviation) of values determined using data from the 7-day weighed food record. These results suggest that it is not necessary to use time-consuming and expensive 7-day food records in doubly labeled water studies; instead, food intake data obtained more easily by 24-hour recall or food frequency questionnaire can provide comparable data.

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