Average intakes of nonstarch polysaccharides (dietary fiber), foods, and nutrients were measured in representative samples of 30 men aged 50-59 in 4 Scandinavian populations with a 3-4 fold difference in risk for large bowel cancer. The assessment technique, a 4-day weighed record of food consumed and duplicate collections of all food eaten, was validated by chemical analysis of the duplicates, by measuring 24-hour urine and fecal nitrogen excretion, and by comparing the constituents of the urine samples collected during the survey with similar collections 1-2 weeks later. There were good agreements between estimates of fat and protein intake obtained by food-table calculations of the 4-day weighed record and the chemically analyzed duplicates. Urinary plus fecal nitrogen excretion was equal to estimated nitrogen intake during the survey, and no discernable changes in urinary output occurred after the survey, thereby implying that dietary habits had not changed as a result of the investigative technique. It is concluded that the dietary data are indicative of current patterns of food consumption and are sufficiently valid for comparison with data on cancer risk in the 4 areas.