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Accuracy of energy and nutrient intake estimation versus observed intake using four technology-assisted dietary assessment methods: a randomized crossover feeding study.

BACKGROUND: Technology-assisted 24-hour dietary recalls (24HR) have been widely adopted in population nutrition surveillance. Evaluations of 24HR inform improvements but direct comparisons of 24HR methods for accuracy in reference to a measure of true intake are rarely undertaken in a single study population.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the accuracy of energy and nutrient intake estimation of four technology-assisted dietary assessment methods relative to true intake across breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

METHODS: In a controlled feeding study with a crossover design, 152 participants (55% women; mean age 32y (SD 11); mean BMI 26 kg/m2 (SD 5)) were randomized to one of three separate feeding days to consume breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with unobtrusive weighing of foods and beverages consumed. Participants undertook a 24HR the following day (Automated Self-Administered Dietary Assessment Tool-Australia© (ASA24); Intake24-Australia©; mobile Food Record™ - Trained Analyst (mFR-TA); or Image-Assisted Interviewer-Administered 24-hour recall (IA-24HR)). When assigned to IA-24HR, participants referred to images captured of their meals using the mobile Food Record™ app. True and estimated energy and nutrient intakes were compared, and differences among methods were assessed using linear mixed models.

RESULTS: The mean difference between true and estimated energy intake as a percentage of true intake was 5.4% (95% CI 0.6, 10.2) using ASA24, 1.7% (95% CI -2.9, 6.3) using Intake24, 1.3% (95% CI -1.1, 3.8) using mFR-TA, and 15.0% (95% CI 11.6, 18.3) using IA-24HR. The variances of estimated and true energy intakes were statistically significantly different for all methods (P<0.01), apart from Intake 24 (P=0.1). Differential accuracy in nutrient estimation was present among the methods.

CONCLUSIONS: Under controlled conditions, Intake24, ASA24, and mFR-TA estimated average energy and nutrient intakes with reasonable validity, but intake distributions were estimated accurately by Intake24 only (energy and protein). This study may inform considerations regarding instruments of choice in future population surveillance.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number ACTRN12621000209897; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=381165&isReview=true.

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