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Nutrition epidemiology of flavan-3-ols: the known unknowns

Kuhnle, G. G. C. (2018) Nutrition epidemiology of flavan-3-ols: the known unknowns. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 61. pp. 2-11. ISSN 0098-2997

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.mam.2017.10.003

Abstract/Summary

Nutritional epidemiology has an important role, as it can provide long-term data from large populations and does not rely on surrogate markers for morbidity/mortality. Meaningful interpretation and applications of outcomes from epidemiological studies depend on the accurate assessment of dietary intake, which is currently mainly based on a combination of self-reporting and food composition data. Flavan-3-ols are a group of bioactives (non-essential dietary components with significant impact on health) that is a possible candidate for the development of dietary recommendations. The breadth of data available on their effect on health also provides the basis for investigating the suitability of the methods currently used in nutritional epidemiology to assess the health effects of bioactives. The outcomes of this assessment demonstrate that the limitations of currently used methods make it virtually impossible to estimate intake accurately from self-reported dietary data. This is due to the limitations of self-reporting, especially from food-frequency questionnaires, and the inability of currently used methods to deal with the high variability of food composition. Indeed, the estimated intake of flavan-3-ols, can only be interpreted as a marker of specific dietary patterns, but not as the actual intake amount. The interpretation of results from such studies are fraught with serious limitations, especially for establishing associations between intake and health and the development of dietary recommendations. Alternative assessment not affected by these limitations, such as biomarkers, are required to overcome these limitations. The development of nutritional biomarkers is therefore crucial to investigate the health effect of bioactives.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:73861
Publisher:Elsevier

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