Dietary assessment methods to estimate (poly)phenol intake in epidemiological studies: a systematic review

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Nutritional epidemiological studies have frequently reported associations between higher (poly)phenol intake and a decrease in the risk or incidence of noncommunicable diseases. However, the assessment methods that have been used to quantify the intakes of these compounds in large-population samples are highly variable. This systematic review aims to characterize the methods used to assess dietary (poly)phenol intake in observational studies, report the validation status of the methods, and give recommendations on method selection and data reporting. Three databases were searched for publications that have used dietary assessment methods to measure (poly)phenol intake and 549 eligible full texts were identified. Food-frequency questionnaires were found to be the most commonly used tool to assess dietary (poly)phenol intake (73%). Published data from peer-reviewed journals were the major source of (poly)phenol content data (25%). An increasing number of studies used open-access databases such as Phenol-Explorer and USDA databases on flavonoid content since their inception, which accounted for 11% and 23% of the data sources, respectively. Only 16% of the studies reported a method that had been validated for measuring the target (poly)phenols. For future research we recommend: 1) selecting a validated dietary assessment tool according to the target compounds and target period of measurement; 2) applying and combining comprehensive (poly)phenol content databases such as USDA and Phenol-Explorer; 3) detailing the methods used to assess (poly)phenol intake, including dietary assessment method, (poly)phenol content data source; 4) follow the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology—Nutritional Epidemiology (STROBE-nut) framework; and 5) complementing dietary intake assessment based on questionnaires with measurement of (poly)phenols in biofluids using appropriate and validated analytical methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbernmab017
Pages (from-to)1781-1801
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number5
Early online date3 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


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