Is misreporting of dietary intake by weighed food records or 24-hour recalls food specific?

Leanne Garden, Heather Clark, Stephen Whybrow, R. James Stubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Healthy eating advice is informed, in part, by dietary surveys that rely on self reported data. Misreporting of food intake may distort relationships between diet and health outcomes. This study directly quantified the food groups that were under-reported or over-reported in common dietary assessment techniques.
Methods: Food and drink consumption of 59 adults, with ad lib access to a range of familiar foods, was objectively and covertly measured by investigators, and validated against independent measures of energy balance, while participants were resident in the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rowett Institute. Participants self-reported their diets using weighed dietary records (WDR) and multiple pass 24-hr recalls over two periods of 3-d using a cross-over design. Foods and drinks were aggregated into 41 food groups.
Results: The mean daily weight of food and drinks reported was significantly lower than actually consumed; 3.3kg (p = 0.004, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.07-3.55kg) and 3.0kg (p < 0.001, CI = 2.80-3.15kg) for the WDR and 24-hr recall respectively, compared to 3.6kg for the objective measure. Reported intakes were significantly lower than the objective measure for four and eight food groups (WDR and 24hr recall respectively), and not significantly different for the remaining food groups.
Conclusions: Although under-reporting was greater for some food groups than for others, “healthy” foods were not over-reported and “unhealthy” foods were not consistently under-reported. A better understanding of which foods tend to be misreported could lead to improvements in the methods of self-reported dietary intakes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1034
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

The original study, from which the current data were taken, was funded by the Food Standards Agency, UK. S.W. was supported by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division.


  • dietary assessment
  • food groups
  • nutritional epidemiology
  • food diaries


Dive into the research topics of 'Is misreporting of dietary intake by weighed food records or 24-hour recalls food specific?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this