We developed multidimensional measures of diet by identifying seven gender-specific patterns among 1,475 male and 780 female subjects selected as neighborhood controls in a case-control study of cancer at various sites. The purpose of this study was to examine these patterns for compliance with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Dietary Guidelines. Diets were scored and each subject assigned tertile ranks for each pattern. Mean values for indicators of compliance were compared across tertiles for each pattern. No one pattern signified compliance with all guidelines. High-fat patterns in both genders and the low-cost pattern in women were the best indicators of poor compliance with NCI guidelines.