Validity and test-retest reliability of a short dietary questionnaire to assess intake of saturated fat and free sugars: a preliminary study.

Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (Impact Factor: 2.07). 11/2012; DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The present study aimed to conduct a preliminary investigation of the validity and reliability of a short dietary questionnaire designed to assess dietary intake of saturated fat and free sugars. METHODS: Forty students at Macquarie University, aged 17-46 years, completed the Dietary Fat and free Sugar - Short Questionnaire (DFS), a full-length food frequency questionnaire (C-FFQ) and a 4-day diet diary (DD). After a mean (SD) follow-up time of 158 (10) days, 29 participants completed a second administration of the DFS. RESULTS: Correlation coefficients comparing DFS scores with the percentage energy from saturated fat and free sugar assessed by the C-FFQ and DD ranged from 0.35 to 0.71. The intraclass correlation (0.83) was high, indicating good reliability. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the DFS is a valid and reliable measure of saturated fat and free sugar intake. Because it is quick to administer and score, in the public domain, and easy to interpret, it maybe useful as a screener, simple self-check tool or for large-scale epidemiological studies.

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    ABSTRACT: High intakes of fat have been linked to greater cognitive decline in old age, but such associations may already occur in younger adults. We tested memory and learning in 38 women (25 to 45 years old), recruited for a larger observational study in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. These women varied in health status, though not significantly between cases (n = 23) and controls (n = 15). Performance on tests sensitive to medial temporal lobe function (CANTABeclipse, Cambridge Cognition Ltd, Cambridge, UK), i.e., verbal memory, visuo-spatial learning, and delayed pattern matching (DMS), were compared with intakes of macronutrients from 7-day diet diaries and physiological indices of metabolic syndrome. Partial correlations were adjusted for age, activity, and verbal IQ (National Adult Reading Test). Greater intakes of saturated and trans fats, and higher saturated to unsaturated fat ratio (Sat:UFA), were associated with more errors on the visuo-spatial task and with poorer word recall and recognition. Unexpectedly, higher UFA intake predicted poorer performance on the word recall and recognition measures. Fasting insulin was positively correlated with poorer word recognition only, whereas higher blood total cholesterol was associated only with visuo-spatial learning errors. None of these variables predicted performance on a DMS test. The significant nutrient-cognition relationships were tested for mediation by total energy intake: saturated and trans fat intakes, and Sat:UFA, remained significant predictors specifically of visuo-spatial learning errors, whereas total fat and UFA intakes now predicted only poorer word recall. Examination of associations separately for monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats suggested that only MUFA intake was predictive of poorer word recall. Saturated and trans fats, and fasting insulin, may already be associated with cognitive deficits in younger women. The findings need extending but may have important implications for public health.
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