Characterisation, procedures and heritability of acute dietary intake in the Twins UK cohort: an observational study

Emily R. Leeming, Olatz Mompeo, Pauline Turk, Ruth C.E. Bowyer, Panayiotis Louca, Abigail J. Johnson, Tim D. Spector, Caroline Le Roy*, Rachel Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Estimated food records (EFR) are a common dietary assessment method. This investigation aimed to; (1) define the reporting quality of the EFR, (2) characterise acute dietary intake and eating behaviours, (3) describe diet heritability. Methods: A total of 1974 one-day EFR were collected from 1858 participants in the TwinsUK cohort between 2012 and 2017. EFR were assessed using a six-point scoring system to determine reporting quality. The frequency and co-occurrence of food items was examined using word clouds and co-occurrence networks. The impact of eating behaviours on weight, BMI and nutrient intake were explored using mixed-effect linear regression models. Finally, diet heritability was estimated using ACE modelling. Results: We observed that 75% of EFR are of acceptable reporting quality (score > 5). Black tea and semi-skimmed milk were the most consumed items, on an individual basis (respectively 8.27, 6.25%) and paired (0.21%) as co-occurring items. Breakfast consumption had a significantly (p = 5.99 × 10− 7) greater impact on energy (kcal) (mean 1874.67 (±SD 532.42)) than skipping breakfast (1700.45 (±SD 620.98)), however only length of eating window was significantly associated with body weight (kg) (effect size 0.21 (±SD 0.10), p = 0.05) and BMI (effect size 0.08 (±SD 0.04), p = 0.04) after adjustment for relevant covariates. Lastly, we reported that both length of eating window (h2 = 33%, CI 0.24; 0.41), and breakfast consumption (h2 = 11%, CI 0.02; 0.21) were weakly heritable. Conclusions: EFR describing acute dietary intake allow for eating behaviour characterisation and can supplement habitual diet intake assessments. Novel findings of heritability warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
Early online date27 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2022


  • Diet diary
  • Dietary intake
  • Eating behaviours
  • Food frequency questionnaires
  • Food record
  • Heritability


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