The CNP Evaluation of Diet Research Category consolidates research exploring the evaluation of dietary intake within the field. To view each original study on the open internet, click “Original.” To view the CNP-written abstract summary, click “CNP Summary.” While only some of the CNP-written abstract summaries are available below for free, all abstract summaries are available to CNP members through the CNP Library Membership.
The diet we consume plays a major role in slowing the course of chronic diseases. Dietary Quality Indices or Indicators (DQIs) are algorithms that help quantify dietary quality and segregate individuals into groups based on how healthy their diet is. Indices that are already defined help evaluate dietary habits based on existing nutrition information and are useful in the setting of epidemiological studies investigating risk factors for non-communicable diseases related to diet. There are several types of DQIs, divided into three categories: a) nutrient-based indicators; b) food/food group based indicators; and c) combination indexes, which represent the majority of DQIs and account for dietary diversity within- and across-food groups, nutrient adequacy compared to necessities or to food groups (quantities, servings), in addition to data on moderate food consumption and macronutrient balance. The Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the Diet Quality Index (DQI), the Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI), and the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) represent the majorly validated and widely used set of dietary indices, and their adaptations gave rise to several other tools. Of note, several MDS variations have been presented, including the alternate MDS and Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS). DQI data input primarily stems from individual dietary data collection tools such as the 24h quantitative intake recalls, dietary records, and food frequency questionnaires, and evaluate parameters like intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds, meat, and meat products, poultry, milk and dairy products, olive oil, fish oil, total fats consumed, saturated fatty acids (SFAs) or the ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids or to polyunsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, complex carbohydrates, mono- and disaccharides, dietary fiber, and sodium. Gil et al. (2015) comment that current trends of research have shifted beyond the scope of DQIs towards healthy life indices (HLIs), which provide data on behavioral patterns past dietary ones, including physical activity, rest, and socio-cultural habits. The Mediterranean Lifestyle (MEDLIFE) index, a novel index adapted from the Spanish Mediterranean food guide pyramid evaluates both Mediterranean diet adherence, physical activity, rest, and socio-cultural parameters, however, to establish a global HLI evaluation, the authors comment that further parameters on food safety should be recognized in addition to food groups and consumed nutrients (as per the Iberoamerican Nutrition Foundation (FINUT) Pyramid of Healthy Lifestyles). These parameters should include processed food intake, food chain aspects (i.e., handling, preparation, storage), access to drinking water, seasonal and local food, alcoholic beverage intake, salt consumption, the prevalence of home cooking, social activities related to food, factors determining food selection and religious beliefs.