Objective: Lycopene is a potent antioxidant, and it has been suggested that intake of tomatoes and tomato products containing lycopene is associated with a decreased risk of various chronic diseases. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the distribution of dietary lycopene intake in the Belgian population and to determine the most important contributors to lycopene intake.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: National food consumption data from the Belgian Food Consumption Survey (BFCS) 2004 were used for the intake assessment. Determination of the lycopene content in foods was performed with HPLC-UV. Individual food consumption data were multiplied by the actual mean concentrations of lycopene per food.
Subjects: Individuals (n 3083) aged 15 years and older participated in the study and provided two 24 h recalls.
Results: The mean lycopene intake among Belgian adults was 4·1 (sd 2·3) mg/d or 0·059 (sd 0·033) mg/kg body weight per d. Lycopene intake among men (4·6 (sd 2·6) mg/d) was higher than among women (3·6 (sd 2·1) mg/d), and was higher in the younger compared with the older age groups. Cis-lycopene intake represented about one-third of the total lycopene intake. Tomatoes and tomato products (43%) and sauces and ready-to-eat meals containing tomato sauces (41%) were the main contributors to lycopene intake in Belgium.
Conclusions: The lycopene intake of the Belgian adult population was comparable to intakes reported in neighbouring countries and was below the acceptable daily intake.