Background: Underreporting of food intake is common in obese subjects.
Objective: One aim of this study was to assess to what extent underreporting by obese men is explained by underrecording (failure to record in a food diary everything that is consumed) or undereating. Another aim of the study was to find out whether there was an indication for selective underreporting.
Design: Subjects were 30 obese men with a mean (+/-SD) body mass index (in kg/m(2)) of 34 +/- 4. Total food intake was measured over 1 wk. Energy expenditure (EE) was measured with the doubly labeled water method, and water loss was estimated with deuterium-labeled water. Energy balance was checked for by measuring body weight at the start and end of the food-recording week and 1 wk after the recording week.
Results: Mean energy intake and EE were 10.4 +/- 2.5 and 16.7 +/- 2. 4 MJ/d, respectively; underreporting was 37 +/- 16%. The mean body mass loss of 1.0 +/- 1.3 kg over the recording week was significantly different (P < 0.05) from the change in body mass over the nonrecording week, and indicated 26% undereating. Water intake (reported + metabolic water) and water loss were significantly different from each other and indicated 12% underrecording. The reported percentage of energy from fat was a function of the level of underreporting: percentage of energy from fat = 46 - 0.2 x percentage of underreporting (r(2) = 0.28, P = 0.003).
Conclusions: Total underreporting by the obese men was explained by underrecording and undereating. The obese men selectively underreported fat intake.