Dietary Intakes

Dietary intake assessment at the population level is the cornerstone of developing national nutrition guidelines and is important for outlining strategies targeted at prevention of chronic diseases.

OUR RESEARCH GOALS

Our overarching goal is to gain a better understanding of current state of dietary intakes among different population subgroups in Canada, and to critically evaluate dietary factors or patterns responsible for the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes) at the population level.

STUDIES FROM OUR LAB

The L’Abbé Lab has conducted several studies and surveys to evaluate the dietary intakes of Canadians, critically evaluate dietary guidelines, and address the potential errors inherent in self-reported dietary intakes in the context of obesity research.

In one study about national Canadian dietary guidelines, we systematically analyzed the processes and assumptions behind the Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide and found that the Food Guide is obesogenic in its current form due to its exclusive focus on meeting the nutrient requirements and lack of consideration of guidelines for the prevention of chronic diseases. We then provided suggestions for improvement of the next Canadian Food Guide. Our group has also evaluated the adherence of dietary intakes to national nutrition recommendations. Using different measures, we have demonstrated large gaps between actual dietary intakes and dietary recommendations in Canada:

In light of recent criticism regarding the usability of self-reported dietary intakes in informing national nutrition policies, we conducted the largest known epidemiological study comparing different methods to handle systematic misreporting bias in obesity research. We found that adjusting for the misreporting bias can correct for the systematic misreporting bias in large-scale studies of dietary intakes in relation to chronic disease risk. We have also addressed other sources of measurement errors in nutritional surveys, including inaccuracies in food composition table estimates.

More studies regarding analyses of national nutrition survey are underway.