Consumption and portion sizes of tree nuts, peanuts and seeds in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohorts from 10 European countries

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Jenab, M., J. Sabate', N. Slimani, P. Ferrari, M. Mazuir, C. Casagrande, G. Deharveng, A. Tjønneland, A. Olsen, K. Overvad, M.-C. Boutron-Ruault, F. Clavel-Chapelon, H. Boeing, C. Weikert, J. Linseisen, S. Rohrmann, A. Trichopoulou, A. Naska, D. Palli, C. Sacerdote, R. Tumino, A. Mattiello, V. Pala, H.B. Bueno-de-Mesquita, M.C. Ocke', P.H. Peeters, D. Engeset, G. Skeie, P. Jakszyn, E. Ardanaz, J.R. Quiro's, M.D. Chirlaque, C. Martinez, P. Amiano, G. Berglund, R. Palmqvist, B. van Guelpen, S. Bingham, T. Key, E. Riboli, 2006. Consumption and portion sizes of tree nuts, peanuts and seeds in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohorts from 10 European countries. British Journal of Nutrition. 96, Suppl. 2, S12-S23

Tree nuts, peanuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods whose intake has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. They are regularly consumed in European diets either as whole, in spreads or from hidden sources (e.g. commercial products). However, little is known about their intake profiles or differences in consumption between European countries or geographic regions. The objective of this study was to analyze the population mean intake and average portion sizes in subjects reporting intake of nuts and seeds consumed as  whole, derived from hidden sources or from spreads. Data was obtained from standardized 24-hour dietary recalls collected from 36,994 subjects in 10 different countries that are part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Overall, for nuts and seeds consumed as whole, the percentage of subjects reporting intake on the day of the recall was: tree nuts = 4.4%, peanuts = 2.3% and seeds = 1.3%. The data show a clear northern (Sweden: mean intake = 0.15 g/d, average portion size = 15.1 g/d) to southern (Spain: mean intake = 2.99 g/d, average portion size = 34.7 g/d) European gradient of whole tree nut intake. The three most popular tree nuts were walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, respectively. In general, tree nuts were more widely consumed than peanuts or seeds. In subjects reporting intake, men consumed a significantly higher average portion size of tree nuts (28.5 v. 23.1 g/d, P<0.01) and peanuts (46.1 v. 35.1 g/d, P<0.01) per day than women. These data may be useful in devising research initiatives and health policy strategies based on the intake of this food group.