This paper describes the dietary intake of total fat, saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and cholesterol of participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) in 27 centres across 10 countries.
Between 1995 and 2000, a stratified random sample of 36 034 participants (age range 35–74 years) completed a standardized 24-h dietary recall, assessed by means of the computer software EPIC-SOFT. Lipid intake data were calculated using a standardized nutrient database.
On average, the contribution of fat to total energy intake was ⩾34% of energy intake (%en) in women and ⩾36%en in men for most EPIC centres, except for the British, Dutch and most Italian cohorts. Total fat (>40%en) and MUFA intakes (21%en, mainly from olive oil) were highest in Greece. Except for the Greek, Spanish and Italian centres, the average MUFA intake ranged between 10 and 13%en, with a high proportion derived from animal sources. SFA intake in women and men was lowest in the Greek, Spanish, Italian and UK cohorts with an average of ⩽13%en (down to 9%en), and highest in the Swedish centres (16%en). The mean PUFA intake was in the range of 4–8%en, being highest in the UK health-conscious cohort. The average cholesterol intake across EPIC varied from 140 to 384 mg/d in women and 215–583 mg/d in men.
The presented data show differences and similarities in lipid intake across the European EPIC cohorts and also show differences in food sources of dietary lipids.