Development and validation of a food frequency questionnaire for the assessment of dietary total antioxidant capacity

Nicoletta Pellegrini, Sara Salvatore, Silvia Valtueña, Giorgio Bedogni, Marisa Porrini, Valeria Pala, Daniele Del Rio, Sabina Sieri, Cristiana Miglio, Vittorio Krogh, Ivana Zavaroni, Furio Brighenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the diet may be an important tool to monitor the protective effect of plant foods in epidemiological studies. We developed a semi-quantitative FFQ for the assessment of dietary TAC by 3 different assays, i.e., Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) and ferric reducingantioxidant power (FRAP). The FFQ consists of 53 questions about the major sources of dietary TAC in Northern Italy and was validated against a 3-d weighed food record (3D-WR) in 285 individuals (159 males and 126 females) aged 35-88 y and living in the province of Parma (Italy). Plasma TAC was also evaluated in a subgroup of subjects using the TEAC and FRAP assays. The FFQ was associated with 3D-WR (quadratic-weighted κ = 0.49 for TEAC, 0.53 for TRAP, and 0.49 for FRAP; P <0.0001) and proved reasonably accurate to classify individuals into quartiles of TAC intake. The FFQ had a good repeatability when readministered after 1 y in 55 subjects (quadratic-weighted κ for intertertile agreement = 0.66 for TEAC, 0.70 for TRAP and 0.68 for FRAP; P <0.0001). With both dietary instruments, the main contributors to TAC intake were coffee and tea in women and alcoholic beverages in men, followed by fruits and vegetables in both sexes. Plasma TAC and dietary TAC were not associated. In conclusion, our FFQ has the potential for being used to rank subjects on the basis of their antioxidant intake as determined by dietary TAC in large epidemiological studies. The FFQ should be validated in external populations before being used for research purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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