British Journal of Nutrition

Papers of direct relevance to Clinical and Human Nutrition

The diet of individuals: a study of a randomly-chosen cross section of British adults in a Cambridgeshire village

Sheila Binghama1, N. I. McNeila1 and J. H. Cummingsa1

a1 MRC Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre, Addenbrookes Hospital, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 lQE


1. The dietary intakes of sixty-three adults, randomly-selected from the electoral role of a large village near Cambridge, have been measured using the weighed-intake technique for 7 d.

2. Mean (±sD) daily intakes (g) for men and women respectively were: energy (MJ) 10.0±2.4, 8.2±2.1; fat 104±27,90±21; protein 77±20,67± 16; carbohydrate 285±81,229±74; sucrose 91±47, 57±33.

3. When interviewed at the end of the study 40% of subjects said they were watching their weight.

4. Women ate less food over all than men, and proportionately less potato and bread, and used only one-third as much sugar in drinks, probably in an attempt to control their weight. Men took considerably more alcohol than the women. In the age-group 20–39 years alcohol provided 9% (1.0 MJ/d) of the total energy intake in the men.

5. Wide variation in the intake of nutrients was observed amongst the individuals. For vitamin C and fibre intake this was partly explained by seasonal variation but for most nutrients total energy intake and food choice were the main determinants. The range. of intakes of nutrients such as fat was similar in these individuals to that seen amongst countries internationally. It is suggested that if differences in nutrient intake amongst the various populations of the world can be associated with disease risk, then the same interpretation should be possible in individuals.

(Received March 20 1980)

(Accepted July 11 1980)