Challenges in estimating the validity of dietary acrylamide measurements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 (r (DQ,R)) was 0.17, while r (DQ,AA) and r (R,AA) were 0.08 and 0.06, respectively. In never smokers, r (DQ,R), r (DQ,AA) and r (R,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.


  • Pietro Ferrari
  • Heinz Freisling
  • Eric J. Duell
  • Rudolf Kaaks
  • Leila Lujan-Barroso
  • Francoise Clavel-Chapelon
  • Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Laura Nailler
  • Silvia Polidoro
  • Amalia Mattiello
  • Domenico Palli
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Sara Grioni
  • Sven Knueppel
  • Anne Tjonneland
  • Anja Olsen
  • Kim Overvad
  • Philippos Orfanos
  • Michail Katsoulis
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Jose Ramon Quiros
  • Eva Ardanaz
  • Jose Maria Huerta
  • Pilar Amiano Etxezarreta
  • Maria Jose Sanchez
  • Francesca Crowe
  • Kay-Tee Khaw
  • Nicholas J. Wareham
  • Marga Ocke
  • Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
  • Petra H. M. Peeters
  • Goeran Hallmans
  • Ingegerd Johansson
  • Dagrun Engeset
  • Genevieve Nicolas
  • Valentina Gallo
  • Teresa Norat
  • Elio Riboli
  • Nadia Slimani
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Acrylamide, Dietary questionnaires, Haemoglobin adducts, Biomarkers, Smoking, Measurement errors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1503-1512
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch