The application of metabolomics in nutrition epidemiology holds great promise and there is a high expectation that it will play a leading role in deciphering the interactions between diet and health. However, while significant progress has been made in the identification of putative biomarkers, more work is needed to address the use of the biomarkers in dietary assessment. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate progress in these areas and to identify challenges that need to be addressed going forward. The notable applications of dietary biomarkers in nutritional epidemiology include 1) determination of food intake based on biomarkers levels and calibration equations from feeding studies, 2) classification of individuals into dietary patterns based on the urinary metabolic profile, and 3) application of metabolome wide-association studies. Further work is needed to address some specific challenges to enable biomarkers to reach their full potential.
Keywords: dietary assessment; dietary biomarkers; food intake; metabolomics.
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