Liking for fat is associated with sociodemographic, psychological, lifestyle and health characteristics.

Br J Nutr. 2014 112(8):1353-63

Lampuré A, Deglaire A, Schlich P, Castetbon K, Péneau S, Hercberg S, Méjean C.

Sensory liking influences dietary behaviour, but little is known about specifically associated individual profiles. The aim of the present study was to investigate the associations between liking for fat-and-salt and fat-and-sweet sensations and sociodemographic, economic, psychological, lifestyle and health characteristics in a large sample. Individual characteristics and liking scores were collected by a questionnaire among 37,181 French adults. Liking scores were constructed using a validated preference questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to assess the associations between liking levels and individual characteristics. In both sexes, subjects belonging to low-level occupational categories (OR 1·39, 95% CI 1·16, 1·67 in men; OR 1·28, 95% CI 1·16, 1·41 in women), highly uncontrolled eaters (men: OR 2·90, 95% CI 2·60, 3·23; women: OR 2·73, 95% CI 2·27, 3·30) and obese subjects (men: OR 1·45, 95% CI 1·14, 1·84; women: OR 1·47, 95% CI 1·29, 1·68) were more likely to have a strong liking for the fat-and-sweet sensation, whereas older individuals (men: OR 0·13, 95% CI 0·10, 0·16; women: OR 0·11, 95% CI 0·09, 0·14) and highly cognitive restrainers (men: OR 0·52, 95% CI 0·44, 0·63; women: OR 0·60, 95% CI 0·55, 0·66) were less likely to have a strong liking. Regarding liking for the fat-and-salt sensation, the same associations were found and specific relationships were also highlighted: current smokers and heavy drinkers were more likely to strongly prefer the fat-and-salt sensation compared with non-smokers and abstainers or irregular alcohol consumers. The relationship between individual characteristics and a liking for fat sensation provides new and original information that may be useful for a better understanding of the associations between sensory liking and individual behaviour.

Demographic, socioeconomic, disease history, dietary and lifestyle cancer risk factors associated with alcohol consumption.

Int J Cancer. 2014 134(2):445-59

Touvier M, Druesne-Pecollo N, Kesse-Guyot E, Andreeva VA, Galan P, Hercberg S, Latino-Martel P.

Data are lacking regarding the association of alcohol consumption with a broad range of other cancer risk factors. Objectives: (i) to assess which sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors were associated with alcohol consumption; (ii) to identify profiles of alcohol consumers by beverage type; (iii) to estimate the number of cancer risk factors accumulated on the individual level according to alcohol consumption. Alcohol and dietary intakes were assessed by six 24 hr records among 29,566 adults of the NutriNet-Santé cohort. Factors associated with alcohol consumption (nondrinkers (reference)/< 10 g/day/≥ 10 g/day) were assessed by polytomic multivariate logistic regression stratified by gender. Among alcohol consumers, percentages of alcohol brought by each beverage type were compared across sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics using Kruskal-Wallis rank tests. Several factors were associated with alcohol consumption ≥ 10 g/day in both genders: older age (pmen = 0.02, pwomen < 0.0001), smoking (pmen&women < 0.0001), higher socioprofessional category (pmen&women < 0.0001), higher income (pmen = 0.003, pwomen  < 0.0001) and less healthy dietary intakes. Profiles of subjects varied across alcoholic beverage types. Men with history of cardiovascular disease (p = 0.0002) or depression (p = 0.03) and women with history of cirrhosis (p  < 0.0001) consumed less alcohol. In women, personal history of cancer was associated with a lower proportion of moderate alcohol users only (< 10 g/day, p = 0.04). In both genders, higher alcohol drinkers clustered more cancer risk factors (median = 5, apart from alcohol) than nondrinkers (median = 4), p < 0.0001. The multiplicity of deleterious lifestyle behaviors combined with alcohol drinking must be taken into account in cancer prevention efforts. Gender-specific medical advice for people with personal or family history of alcohol-related diseases, including cancer, should be strengthened.

Assessment of response consistency and respective participant profiles in the Internet-based NutriNet-Santé Cohort.

Am J Epidemiol. 2014 179(7):910-916

Andreeva VA, Galan P, Julia C, Castetbon K, Kesse-Guyot E, Hercberg S.

Whereas the feasibility and effectiveness of Internet-based epidemiologic research have been established, methodological support for the quality of such data is still accumulating. We aimed to identify sociodemographic differences among members of a French cohort according to willingness to provide part of one's 15-digit national identification number (personal Social Security number (PSSN)) and to assess response consistency based on information reported on the sociodemographic questionnaire and that reflected in the PSSN. We studied 100,118 persons enrolled in an Internet-based prospective cohort study, the NutriNet-Santé Study, between 2009 and 2013. Persons aged 18 years or more who resided in France and had Internet access were eligible for enrollment. The sociodemographic profiles of participants with discordant data were compared against those of participants with concordant data via 2-sided polytomous logistic regression. In total, 84,442 participants (84.3%) provided the first 7 digits of their PSSN, and among them 5,141 (6.1%) had discordant data. Our multivariate analysis revealed differences by sex, age, education, and employment as regards response consistency patterns. The results support the quality of sociodemographic data obtained online from a large and diverse volunteer sample. The quantitative description of participant profiles according to response consistency patterns could inform future methodological work in e-epidemiology.

The Associations between Emotional Eating and Consumption of Energy-Dense Snack Foods Are Modified by Sex and Depressive Symptomatology.

J Nutr. 2014 144(8):1264-73

Camilleri GM, Méjean C, Kesse-Guyot E, Andreeva VA, Bellisle F, Hercberg S, Péneau S.

In recent years, emotional eating (EmE) has incited substantial research interest as an important psychologic determinant of food vb intake and overweight. However, little is known about factors that might modulate its relations with dietary habits. The objective was to examine the association between EmE and consumption of energy-dense snack food and assess the 2-way interaction of EmE with sex and depressive symptoms. A total of 7378 men and 22,862 women from the NutriNet-Santé cohort (France, 2009-2013) who completed ≥6 self-reported 24-h food records were included in this cross-sectional analysis. EmE was evaluated via the revised 21-item Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The associations between EmE and energy-dense food consumption were assessed by multivariable logistic and linear regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. Higher EmE was associated with higher consumption of energy-dense snacks and, in particular, with consumption of sweet-and-fatty foods across most categories studied. However, these associations were stronger in women with depressive symptoms (e.g., high consumption of chocolate, OR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.43, 2.20; cakes/biscuits/pastries, OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.45, 2.26) compared with those without depressive symptoms (e.g., high consumption of chocolate, OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.36, 1.69; cakes/biscuits/pastries, OR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.29, 1.61). In contrast, the significant positive associations observed in men without depressive symptoms (e.g., high consumption of chocolate, OR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.16, 1.52; cakes/biscuits/pastries, OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.48) were not found in men with depressive symptoms. In conclusion, in women, EmE was positively associated with consumption of energy-dense snack food, particularly in those with depressive symptoms. For men, the relation between EmE and energy-dense snack foods was found only in those without depressive symptoms. These findings call for consideration of the psychologic state when targeting unhealthy dietary habits, especially in women. This trial was registered at as 2013-000929-31.

Association of Perception of Front-of-Pack Labels with Dietary, Lifestyle and Health Characteristics.

Plos One. 2014 9(3):e90971

Méjean C, Macouillard P, Peneau S, Hercberg S, Castetbon K.


To identify patterns of perception of front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels and determine dietary, lifestyle and health profiles related to such patterns.



28,952 French adults participating in the web-based Nutrinet-Santé cohort.
Perception was measured using indicators of understanding and acceptability for three simple FOP labels (“green tick”, the logo of the French Nutrition and Health Program and “simple traffic lights” (STL)), and two detailed FOP formats (“multiple traffic lights” (MTL) and “color range” logo (CR)), placed on ready-to-eat soup packages. Dietary intake data were collected using three web-based 24 h records.
Associations of perception patterns with individual characteristics, including diet, lifestyle and health status, were examined using analysis of covariance and logistic regression, adjusted for socio-demographic and economic factors.
No clear trend emerged concerning differences in dietary intake between perception groups. Low physical activity and obesity were more frequent in the ‘favorable to STL’ group (respectively, 20.7% and 10.7%). The ‘favorable to MTL’ group included the highest percentage of individuals who declared type 2 diabetes (2.2%). Persons with hypertension were proportionally more numerous in the ‘favorable to MTL’ and the ‘favorable to CR logo’ groups (respectively, 9.5% and 9.3%).

Association between intake of nutrients and food groups and liking for fat (The Nutrinet-Santé Study).

Appetite. 2014 78:147-55

Méjean C, Deglaire A, Kesse-Guyot, Hercberg S, Schlich P, Castetbon K.

Apart from the established association between liking for fat and fat intake, little is known about the association between liking for fat and intake of specific nutrients or food groups. We investigated the association between dietary intake and liking for fat, fat-and-sweet and fat-and-salt. Liking scores were constructed using a validated preference questionnaire administered to 41,595 French adults participating in the Nutrinet-Santé study. Dietary data were collected using web-based 24 h records. Relationships between liking and dietary intake were assessed using linear regression adjusted for age and energy intake. Results are expressed in percentage difference of intake between individuals with low liking and those with high liking. Compared with participants with low liking for fat, individuals with a strong liking for fat had higher intakes of total energy (+10.1% in women (W); +8.4% in men (M)), fats (W: +7.3%; M: +10.0%), saturated fats (W: +10.8%; M+15.4%), meat (W: +13.0%; M: +12.6%), butter (W: +34.0%; M: +48.1%), sweetened cream desserts (W: +14.8%; M: +21.1%) and croissant-like pastries (W: +27.2%; M: +36.9). They also consumed lower quantities of omega-3 fatty acids (W: -6.2%;M: -6.0%), fiber (W: -16.4%; M: -18.9%), fruits (W: -28.8%; M: -29.5%), vegetables (W: -16.4%; M: -19.7%) and yogurt (W: -12.1%; M: -14.8%). Participants with high liking for fat-and-salt had higher intakes of total energy, sodium and alcoholic beverages and lower consumption of total and simple carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables than persons with high liking for fat-and-sweet. Our study contributes to the understanding of liking as a determinant of dietary intake. It highlighted that increased liking for fat, especially fat-and-salt liking, was associated with a lower intake of healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables.

Weight-loss strategies used by the general population: how are they perceived ?

PLoS One. 2014 9:e97834

Julia C, Peneau S, Andreeva VA, Mejean C, Fezeu L, Galan P, Hercberg S.

The rising prevalence of obesity and the social pressure for thinness increase the prevalence of dieting. However, little is known about the overall perception of dieting strategies actually used by the general population.
Our main objective was to investigate perceptions of weight-loss practices in an observational study in order to identify the most favourable strategy.
Adults from the ongoing Nutrinet-Santé cohort study who had reported engaging in dieting in the three previous years were included in the study. For each diet, detailed information was collected on types of diets, circumstances and perception of the diet, and outcomes. Perceptions were compared across diets using sex-specific mixed effects models.
Among the 48 435 subjects who had completed the respective questionnaire, 12 673 (26.7%, 87.8% of women) had followed at least one weight-loss diet in the previous three years. Diet plans prescribed by health professionals and diets conforming to official dietary recommendations were the most favourably perceived among all assessed weight-loss strategies. Alternatively, commercial diet plans and self-imposed dietary restrictions were more negatively perceived (Odds ratios (OR) for adherence difficulty 1.30 (95% confidence interval (0.99;1.7)) in men and OR 1.92 (1.76;2.10) in women compared to official nutritional guidelines; OR 1.06 (0.82;1.38) in men and OR 1.39 (1.26;1.54) in women respectively) compared to official nutritional guidelines.
Official dietary recommendations could be useful tools for maintaining a dietary balance while following a weight-loss diet.

Development and validation of an individual dietary index based on the British Food Standard Agency nutrient profiling system in a French context.

J Nutr. 2014 144:2009-17

Julia C, Touvier M, Mejean C, Ducrot P, Peneau S, Hercberg S, Kesse-Guyot E.

Nutrient profiling systems could be useful public health tools as a basis for front-of-package nutrition labeling, advertising regulations, or food taxes. However, their ability beyond characterization of foods to adequately characterize individual diets necessitates further investigation.
The objectives of this study were 1) to calculate a score at the individual level based on the British Food Standard Agency (FSA) food-level nutrient profiling system of each food consumed, and 2) to evaluate the validity of the resulting diet-quality score against food group consumption, nutrient intake, and sociodemographic and lifestyle variables.
A representative sample of the French population was selected from the NutriNet-Santé Study (n = 4225). Dietary data were collected through repeated 24-h dietary records. Sociodemographic and lifestyle data were self-reported. All foods consumed were characterized by their FSA nutrient profile, and the energy intake from each food consumed was used to compute FSA-derived aggregated scores at the individual level. A score of adherence to French nutritional recommendations [Programme National Nutrition Santé guideline score (PNNS-GS)] was computed as a comparison diet-quality score. Associations between food consumption, nutritional indicators, lifestyle and sociodemographic variables, and quartiles of aggregated scores were investigated using ANOVAs and linear regression models.
Participants with more favorable scores consumed higher amounts of fruits [difference Δ = 156 g/d between quartile 1 (less favorable) and quartile 4 (most favorable), P < 0.001], vegetables (Δ = 85 g/d, P < 0.001), and fish, and lower amounts of snack foods (Δ = -72 g/d, P < 0.001 for sugary snacks); they also had higher vitamin and mineral intakes and lower intakes of saturated fat. Participants with more favorable scores also had a higher adherence to nutritional recommendations measured with the PNNS-GS (Δ = 2.13 points, P < 0.001). Women, older subjects, and higher-income subjects were more likely to have more favorable scores.
Our results show adequate validity of the FSA nutrient profiling system to characterize individual diets in a French context. The NutriNet-Santé Study was registered in the European Clinical Trials Database (EudraCT) as 2013-000929-31.

Application of the British Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system in a French food composition database.

Br J Nutr. 2014 112:1699-705

Julia C, Kesse-Guyot E, Touvier M, Mejean C, Fezeu L, Hercberg S.

Nutrient profiling systems are powerful tools for public health initiatives, as they aim at categorising foods according to their nutritional quality. The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) nutrient profiling system (FSA score) has been validated in a British food database, but the application of the model in other contexts has not yet been evaluated. The objective of the present study was to assess the application of the British FSA score in a French food composition database. Foods from the French NutriNet-Santé study food composition table were categorised according to their FSA score using the Office of Communication (OfCom) cut-off value ('healthier' ≤ 4 for foods and ≤ 1 for beverages; 'less healthy' >4 for foods and >1 for beverages) and distribution cut-offs (quintiles for foods, quartiles for beverages). Foods were also categorised according to the food groups used for the French Programme National Nutrition Santé (PNNS) recommendations. Foods were weighted according to their relative consumption in a sample drawn from the NutriNet-Santé study (n 4225), representative of the French population. Classification of foods according to the OfCom cut-offs was consistent with food groups described in the PNNS: 97·8 % of fruit and vegetables, 90·4 % of cereals and potatoes and only 3·8 % of sugary snacks were considered as 'healthier'. Moreover, variability in the FSA score allowed for a discrimination between subcategories in the same food group, confirming the possibility of using the FSA score as a multiple category system, for example as a basis for front-of-pack nutrition labelling. Application of the FSA score in the French context would adequately complement current public health recommendations

Motives for participating in a web-based nutrition cohort according to sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health characteristics: the NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

J Med Internet Res. 2014 16(8):e189

Méjean C, Szabo de Edelenyi F, Touvier M, Kesse-Guyot E, Julia C, Andreeva VA, Hercberg S.

In traditional epidemiological studies, participants are likely motivated by perceived benefits, feelings of accomplishment, and belonging. No study has explored motives for participation in a Web-based cohort and the associated participant characteristics, although such information is useful for enhancing recruitment and improving cohort retention.
We aimed to evaluate the relationships between motives for participation and sociodemographic, health, and lifestyle characteristics of participants in the NutriNet-Santé Web-based cohort, designed to identify nutritional risk or protective factors for chronic diseases.
The motives for participation were assessed using a specifically developed questionnaire administered approximately 2 years after baseline. A total of 6352 completed the motives questionnaire (43.34%, 6352/15,000 randomly invited cohort participants). We studied the associations between motives (dependent variables) and individual characteristics with multivariate multinomial logistic regression models providing odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
In total, 46.45% (2951/6352) of participants reported that they would not have enrolled if the study had not been conducted on the Internet, whereas 28.75% (1826/6352) were not sure. Men (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.04-1.42), individuals aged 26-35 years (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.20-1.91), and obese participants (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.02-1.65) were more inclined to be motivated by the Internet aspect. Compared with younger adults and managerial staff, individuals >55 years (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.48-0.45) and employees/manual workers were less likely motivated by the Internet aspect (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.63-0.92). Regarding reasons for participation, 61.37% (3898/6352) reported participating to help advance public health research on chronic disease prevention; 22.24% (1413/6352) to help advance nutrition-focused research; 6.89% (438/6352) in response to the call from the media, after being encouraged by a close friend/associate, or a medical provider. Individuals >45 years (vs younger participants) were more likely (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.07-2.47), whereas overweight and obese participants (vs nonobese participants) were less likely to participate in the study for reasons related to helping public health research on chronic disease prevention (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.58-0.89; OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.46-0.84; respectively). Exclusive public funding of the study was important for 67.02% (4257/6352) of the participants. Men (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.17-1.61) and persons >55 years (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.57-2.47) were more likely to consider the exclusive public funding as very important.
The use of the Internet, the willingness to help advance public health research, and the study being publicly funded were key motives for participating in the Web-based NutriNet-Santé cohort. These motives differed by sociodemographic profile and obesity, yet were not associated with lifestyle or health status. These findings can help improve the retention strategies in Web-based cohorts, particularly during decisive study periods when principal exposure information is collected.