What are people really eating? The relation between energy intake derived from estimated diet records and intake determined to maintain body weight

Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Aug;54(2):291-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/54.2.291.


Two hundred sixty-six free-living human volunteers, 21-64 y old, were trained by dietitians to record daily their food intake for at least 7 d. Subsequently, they were fed diets of conventional foods adjusted in amounts to maintain their body weight for greater than or equal to 45 d. Comparing their estimated energy intake with the intake determined to maintain weight yielded mean differences of 2365 and 1792 kJ (565 and 428 kcal) in men and women, respectively, representing an underreporting of 18%. Twenty-two individuals (8%) overestimated and 29 (11%) were accurate to within 419 kJ (100 kcal) of their maintenance requirement. The remaining 215 individuals (81%) reported their habitual intake at 2930 +/- 1586 kJ (700 +/- 379 kcal) below that subsequently determined as their maintenance requirement. These findings suggest caution in the interpretation of food-consumption data.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet Records*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Requirements