Are the proposed limits of energy intake:basal metabolic rate and dietary nitrogen:urinary nitrogen ratios suitable for validation of food intake?

Br J Nutr. 2001 Jun;85(6):725-31. doi: 10.1079/bjn2001327.


The validity of 7 d weighed records of diet obtained for pre-menopausal Mexican women was assessed by two independent methods: the energy intake:BMR (EI:BMR) and the dietary N:urinary N (DN:UN). For the latter, complete urine collections are required and completeness was assessed from measurements of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) excretion. There were forty-six adult female subjects in the study, thirty-four were from Mexico City and twelve were from a rural population in the Central Highlands, Mexico. However, data were rejected from five urban women for whom the PABA excretion data suggested incomplete urine collection on four or more days. BMR was measured with Oxylog portable O2 consumption meters, and physical activity level was assessed from a self-completed activity diary. An approximate relationship between the EI:BMR ratio and the DN:UN ratio suggested that the rejection limits on the EI:BMR ratio recommended by are wider than the limits on the DN:UN ratio recommended by. Using the recommended cut-off points for EI:BMR but wider limits for DN:UN, twenty-one and twenty-five women respectively had acceptable intake records by the two methods, and sixteen of them by both methods. In conclusion the modification of the DN:UN limits to 0.92 and 1.70 to set acceptable intake values makes the use of measurements of N and energy balance comparable. Urine values with PABA recoveries greater than should be rejected, as should UN values validated by less than 3 d.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Diet Records*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen / pharmacokinetics*
  • Nitrogen / urine
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Rural Health
  • Urban Health


  • Nitrogen