Summary and Conclusions

In conclusion, dietary assessment is a complex task. While it might seem intuitive to simply ask study participants or patients to recall foods eaten or complete a form on eating patterns, food intake behaviors are difficult to capture with reasonable accuracy due to the complex and varied items available to consumers, the burden that may be associated with asking participants to record foods and beverages and limitations in standard instruments that are currently available. In addition, underreporting of dietary intake has been identified as a significant problem in dietary assessment. Newer methods of dietary assessment that rely on PDAs, mobile phones, and other electronic technologies will likely be increasingly used in the future with the hope that more accurate data will be obtained. Non-traditional dietary assessment methods may be particularly useful. While not designed to measure absolute intake of foods or nutrients, they are intended to capture dietary behaviors, such as fat intake behaviors, food likes and dislikes (which may predict consumption), and intake of soft drinks and sweets. Despite the challenges in dietary assessment, efforts must continue to understand what people eat and offer dietary modification advice, as needed.

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