Challenges in estimating the validity of dietary acrylamide measurements
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- Ferrari, P., Freisling, H., Duell, E.J. et al. Eur J Nutr (2013) 52: 1503. doi:10.1007/s00394-012-0457-7
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Acrylamide is a chemical compound present in tobacco smoke and food, classified as a probable human carcinogen and a known human neurotoxin. Acrylamide is formed in foods, typically carbohydrate-rich and protein-poor plant foods, during high-temperature cooking or other thermal processing. The objectives of this study were to compare dietary estimates of acrylamide from questionnaires (DQ) and 24-h recalls (R) with levels of acrylamide adduct (AA) in haemoglobin.
In the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, acrylamide exposure was assessed in 510 participants from 9 European countries, randomly selected and stratified by age, sex, with equal numbers of never and current smokers. After adjusting for country, alcohol intake, smoking status, number of cigarettes and energy intake, correlation coefficients between various acrylamide measurements were computed, both at the individual and at the aggregate (centre) level.
Individual level correlation coefficient between DQ and R measurements (rDQ,R) was 0.17, while rDQ,AA and rR,AA were 0.08 and 0.06, respectively. In never smokers, rDQ,R, rDQ,AA and rR,AA were 0.19, 0.09 and 0.02, respectively. The correlation coefficients between means of DQ, R and AA measurements at the centre level were larger (r > 0.4).
These findings suggest that estimates of total acrylamide intake based on self-reported diet correlate weakly with biomarker AA Hb levels. Possible explanations are the lack of AA levels to capture dietary acrylamide due to individual differences in the absorption and metabolism of acrylamide, and/or measurement errors in acrylamide from self-reported dietary assessments, thus limiting the possibility to validate acrylamide DQ measurements.