Dietary polyphenol intake in europe: The european prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC) study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background/Objectives Polyphenols are plant secondary metabolites with a large variability in their chemical structure and dietary occurrence that have been associated with some protective effects against several chronic diseases. To date, limited data exist on intake of polyphenols in populations. The current cross-sectional analysis aimed at estimating dietary intakes of all currently known individual polyphenols and total intake per class and subclass, and to identify their main food sources in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Methods Dietary data at baseline were collected using a standardized 24-h dietary recall software administered to 36,037 adult subjects. Dietary data were linked with Phenol- Explorer, a database with data on 502 individual polyphenols in 452 foods and data on polyphenol losses due to cooking and food processing. Results Mean total polyphenol intake was the highest in Aarhus—Denmark (1786 mg/day in men and 1626 mg/day in women) and the lowest in Greece (744 mg/day in men and 584 mg/day in women). When dividing the subjects into three regions, the highest intake of total polyphenols was observed in the UK healthconscious group, followed by non-Mediterranean (non- MED) and MED countries. The main polyphenol contributors were phenolic acids (52.5–56.9 %), except in men from MED countries and in the UK health-conscious group where they were flavonoids (49.1–61.7 %). Coffee, tea, and fruits were the most important food sources of total polyphenols. A total of 437 different individual polyphenols were consumed, including 94 consumed at a level [1 mg/day. The most abundant ones were the caffeoylquinic acids and the proanthocyanidin oligomers and polymers. Conclusion This study describes the large number of dietary individual polyphenols consumed and the high variability of their intakes between European populations, particularly between MED and non-MED countries.


  • Raul Zamora-Ros
  • Viktoria Knaze
  • Joseph A. Rothwell
  • Bertrand Hémon
  • Aurelie Moskal
  • Kim Overvad
  • Anne Tjønneland
  • Cecilie Kyrø
  • Guy Fagherazzi
  • Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Marina Touillaud
  • Verena Katzke
  • Tilman Kühn
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Jana Förster
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Elissavet Valanou
  • Eleni Peppa
  • Domenico Palli
  • Claudia Agnoli
  • Fulvio Ricceri
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Maria Santucci de Magistris
  • Petra H M Peeters
  • H. Bas Bueno-De-Mesquita
  • Dagrun Engeset
  • Guri Skeie
  • Anette Hjartåker
  • Virginia Menéndez
  • Antonio Agudo
  • Esther Molina-Montes
  • José María Huerta
  • Aurelio Barricarte
  • Pilar Amiano
  • Lena Maria Nilsson
  • Rikard Landberg
  • Timothy J. Key
  • Kay Thee Khaw
  • Nicholas J. Wareham
  • Yunxia Lu
  • Nadia Slimani
  • Isabelle Romieu
  • Elio Riboli
  • Augustin Scalbert
External organisations
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization
  • Aarhus University
  • Danish Cancer Society Research Center
  • Institut Gustave Roussy
  • German Cancer Research Centre
  • German Institute of Human Nutrition
  • Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens
  • Cancer Research and Prevention Institute (ISPO)
  • Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori
  • Human Genetics Foundation (HuGeF)
  • Civic and M.P Arezzo Hospital
  • University of Naples Federico II
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Malaya
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
  • University of Oslo
  • Public Health Directorate
  • Catalan Institute of Oncology
  • CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)
  • Murcia Regional Health Council
  • Health Research Institute of Navarra (IDISNA)
  • Biodonostia Health Research Institute
  • Umeå University
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Paris-Sud
  • Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP)
  • Academy of Athens
  • University Medical Center Utrecht
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Dietary intake, EPIC, Food sources, Polyphenols
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1359-1375
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 17
Publication categoryResearch