Background: Recent studies suggest that diet records are more valid measures of nutrient intake than are food-frequency questionnaires. However, food records are considered unsuitable for large studies due to the need to train participants and to review and correct completed records.
Methods: We evaluated a self-administered 3-day food record protocol in Washington State. One hundred men and women age 50-76 years were mailed a food record and serving-size booklet. Sixty-five people returned a completed food record and were subsequently interviewed to obtain missing information. The food records were analyzed with and without added information from the interview.
Results: The most common error was incomplete description, which affected 8% of recorded foods. Differences in mean nutrient intake between the uncorrected and corrected records were within 5%, and nutrient estimates from the 2 methods were highly correlated.
Conclusions: This streamlined protocol yielded data comparable to those collected by more burdensome protocols, suggesting that the use of food records may be feasible in large cohort studies.