Perception of different formats of front-of-pack nutrition labels according to sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors in a French population: cross-sectional study among the NutriNet-Santé cohort participants.

BMJ Open. 2017 7(6):e016108

Julia C, Péneau S, Buscail C, Gonzalez R, Touvier M, Hercberg S, Kesse-Guyot E.


Four formats for a front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition label are currently considered in France: the Nutriscore (or 5-Colour Nutrition Label, developed by a public research team), the SENS (supported by retailers), Multiple Traffic Lights (MTL, currently used in UK) and a modified version of the Reference Intakes (mRIs, supported by industry). Our objective was to investigate the perception of these FOP labels, according to sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors.


Cross-sectional study.


Web-based French cohort.


FOP labels perception.


Participants in the NutriNet-Santé cohort received a specific questionnaire on the perceptions of the four label formats identified. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary data (three 24-hours dietary records) were collected through self-administered questionnaires. Mutually exclusive clusters of FOP labels perception were identified through a multiple correspondence analysis followed by a hierarchical clustering procedure. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors associated with the clusters were explored using multivariable multinomial logistic regression. All analyses were weighted according to 2009 French census data.


Among the 21,702 participants in the study, the Nutriscore received the most important number of favourable responses on positive perception dimensions by participants, followed by MTL and SENS. The five identified clusters were characterised by marked preferences for Nutriscore (cluster 1, 43.2% of participants, crude n=9,399), MTL (cluster 2, 27.3%, crude n=6,163), SENS (cluster 3, 17.05%, crude n=3,546), mRIs (cluster 4, 7.31%, crude n=1,632) and none of the presented formats (cluster 5, 5.10%, crude n=965). The cluster 1 (Nutriscore) was associated with lower adherence to nutritional recommendations, while cluster 2 (MTL) was associated with younger age and higher level of education.


The Nutriscore appears to have a wide reach in the population and to appeal to subjects with lower adherence to nutritional recommendations.

Contribution of ultra-processed foods in the diet of adults from the French NutriNet-Santé study

Public Health Nutr. 2018 21(1):27-37

Julia C, Martinez L, Allès B, Touvier M, Hercberg S, Méjean C, Kesse-Guyot E.


Concerns have been raised about the potential health impact of ultra-processed foods (UPF) in the diet. Our objective was to investigate the contribution of UPF in the diet in a large French population and its association with sociodemographic factors and dietary patterns.


Cross-sectional analysis of dietary data from 74 470 participants in the web-based NutriNet-Santé cohort. UPF were identified in repeated 24 h records and the proportion (in weight) of UPF in the total diet (UPFp) was computed for each participant. Associations of sociodemographic characteristics and UPFp in quartiles were assessed using multivariate multinomial logistic regression. Food group consumption and nutrient intakes across quartiles of UPFp were estimated using linear regression adjusted for sociodemographic factors and energy intake.




UPF contributed 18·4 % of the foods consumed in weight and 35·9 % of total energy intake. Higher UPFp consumption was independently associated with male gender, younger age, lower education, smoking, and overweight and obesity (all P<0·0001). Participants in the highest UPFp quartile consumed lower amounts of fruit and vegetables (difference between quartile 4 and quartile 1 of UPFp, Δ=-180·3 g/d) and higher amounts of sweet products (Δ=68·5 g/d) and soft drinks (Δ=98·6 g/d; all P<0·0001). They had higher intakes of energy (Δ=610 kJ/d (145·7 kcal/d)) and added sugar (Δ=17·1 g/d), and lower intakes of fibre (Δ=-4·04 g/d), β-carotene (Δ=-1019·6 μg/d) and Ca (Δ=-87·8 mg/d; all P<0·0001).


UPF represent an important part of the diet in adults from the French general population and are associated with unbalanced nutritional intakes.

Individual, Social, and Environmental Correlates of Active Transportation Patterns in French Women

Biomed Res Int. 2017 2017:9069730

Perchoux C, Enaux C, Oppert JM, Menai M, Charreire H, Salze P, Weber C, Hercberg S, Feuillet T, Hess F, Roda C, Simon C, Nazare JA.

The objectives were (1) to define physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors (SB) patterns in daily life contexts (work, leisure, and transportation) in French working women from NutriNet-Santé web-cohort and (2) to identify pattern(s) of active transportation and their individual, social, and environmental correlates. 23,432 participants completed two questionnaires to evaluate PA and SB in daily life contexts and individual representations of residential neighborhood and transportation modes. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed which identified 6 distinct movement behavior patterns: (i) active occupation, high sedentary leisure, (ii) sedentary occupation, low leisure, (iii) sedentary transportation, (iv) sedentary occupation and leisure, (v) active transportation, and (vi) active leisure. Multinomial logistic regressions were performed to identify correlates of the "active transportation" cluster. The perceived environmental characteristics positively associated with "active transportation" included "high availability of destinations around home," "presence of bicycle paths," and "low traffic." A "positive image of walking/cycling," the "individual feeling of being physically active," and a "high use of active transport modes by relatives/friends" were positively related to "active transportation," identified as a unique pattern regarding individual and environmental correlates. Identification of PA and SB context-specific patterns will help to understand movement behaviors' complexity and to design interventions to promote active transportation in specific subgroups.

Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study

Eur J Nutr. 2017

Baudry J, Lelong H, Adriouch S, Julia C, Allès B, Hercberg S, Touvier M, Lairon D, Galan P, Kesse-Guyot E.


Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a multicomponent condition, is a cardiovascular disease predictor. Although exposure to agricultural pesticides has been suggested as a potential contributor to the rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other features of metabolic disorders, no studies have focused on the association between consumption of organic food (produced without synthetic pesticides) and MetS. We aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association between organic food consumption and MetS in French adults to determine whether it would be worth conducting further studies, particularly large prospective and randomised trials.


A total of 8174 participants from the NutriNet-Santé study who attended a clinical visit and completed an organic food frequency questionnaire were included in this cross-sectional analysis. We evaluated the association between the proportion of organic food in the diet (overall and by food group) and MetS using Poisson regression models while adjusting for potential confounders.


Higher organic food consumption was negatively associated with the prevalence of MetS: adjusted prevalence ratio was 0.69 (95% CI 0.61, 0.78) when comparing the third tertile of proportion of organic food in the diet with the first one (p value <0.0001). Higher consumption of organic plant-based foods was also related to a lower probability of having MetS. In addition, when stratifying by lifestyle factors (nutritional quality of the diet, smoking status, and physical activity), a significant negative association was detected in each subgroup (p values <0.05), except among smokers.


Our results showed that a higher organic food consumption was associated with a lower probability of having MetS. Additional prospective studies and randomised trials are required to ascertain the relationship between organic food consumption and metabolic disorders.

Individual and Combined Effects of Dietary Factors on Risk of Incident Hypertension: Prospective Analysis From the NutriNet-Santé Cohort

Hypertension. 2017 70(4):712-720

Lelong H, Blacher J, Baudry J, Adriouch S, Galan P, Fezeu L, Hercberg S, Kesse-Guyot E.

Dietary intake is pointed as one of the major determinants in hypertension development. Data in the area are mostly obtained from cross-sectional studies. We aimed to investigate the prospective association between (1) individual nutritional factors and (2) adherence to the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension and the risk of incident hypertension in a large cohort study. We prospectively examined the incidence of hypertension among 80 426 French adults participating in the NutriNet-Santé cohort study. Self-reported sociodemographic, lifestyle health questionnaires and dietary consumption assessed by three 24-hour records were completed at baseline and yearly thereafter. Associations between quartiles (Q) of nutrients and food groups and adherence to Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension diet and hypertension risk were assessed by multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. During a mean follow-up of 3.4±2.1 years, 2413 cases of incident hypertension were documented. Dietary intakes of sodium (Q4 versus Q1): hazard ratio (HR)=1.17 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.35), potassium: HR=0.82 (95% CI, 0.72-0.94), animal protein: HR=1.26 (95% CI, 1.11-1.43), vegetable protein: HR=0.85 (95% CI, 0.75-0.95), fiber: HR =0.81 (95% CI, 0.71-0.93), magnesium: HR=0.77 (95% CI, 0.67-0.89), fruit and vegetables: HR=0.85 (95% CI, 0.74-0.97), whole grain: HR=0.84(95% CI, 0.76-0.93), nuts: HR=0.72 (95% CI, 0.63-0.83), and red and processed meat: HR=1.25 (95% CI, 1.11-0.42) were associated with risk of hypertension. Besides, adherence to the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension was strongly inversely associated with incident hypertension: (Q4 versus Q1) HR=0.66 (95% CI, 0.58-0.75). Our results confirmed the association of several nutritional factors intake and incident hypertension and highlighted that adopting a global healthy diet could strongly contribute to the prevention of hypertension.

Exposure to contaminants and nutritional intakes in a French vegetarian population

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 109(Pt 1):218-229

Fleury S, Rivière G, Allès B, Kesse-Guyot E, Méjean C, Hercberg S, Touvier M, Bemrah N.

The NutriNet Santé study collected, on a voluntary basis, the dietary consumption of French vegetarian populations (N = 1766, including 188 vegan individuals) from 18 to 81 years (18-77 years for the vegan). Taking advantage of the availability of contamination data generated in the context of the second French total diet study, dietary exposures of French vegetarian populations to several contaminants were estimated. Results showed that exposures to persistent organic pollutants (PCBs, PCDD/Fs for instance) was dramatically lower than those of the general French population due to the non consumption of food of animal origins. On the other hand, exposures to phytoestrogens, some mycotoxins (T2 and HT2 toxins) and some trace elements (Cd, Al, Sn, Ni) were higher in the vegetarian population compared to those of the general population. Despite some limitations of this approach (both the consumption study and the total diet study were not aimed to estimate dietary exposure of the vegetarian populations), this study showed that dietary habits can dramatically influence the exposure of some contaminants.

Association between self-reported vegetarian diet and the irritable bowel syndrome in the French NutriNet cohort

PLoS One. 2017 12(8):e0183039

Buscail C, Sabate JM, Bouchoucha M, Torres MJ, Allès B, Hercberg S, Benamouzig R, Julia C.


There is growing interest in using diet counselling in the management of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Among new emerging diets, vegetarian diets (VD) seem to be experiencing an important popularity, partly because of their alleged health benefits. A recent study performed among a rural Indian population showed that predominant VD could be associated with IBS.


This cross-sectional study aimed at assessing the association between the VD and IBS, among a large French cohort, the NutriNet-santé study.


Subjects participating in the NutriNet-Santé cohort study completed a questionnaire based on Rome III criteria (N = 41,682). Anthropometrics, socio-demographical and lifestyle data, including VD, were collected prior to the completion of Rome III questionnaire via self-administered questionnaires. Association between VD and IBS and its subtypes was investigated through multivariate logistic regression.


The included subjects were mainly women (78.0%) and the mean age was 49.8±14.3 years. Among these individuals, 2,264 (5.4%) presented an IBS, and 805 (1.9%) reported a VD. Overall, VD was not associated with IBS or subtypes. A stable VD (i.e. self-declared at least three times) was associated with IBS (aOR 2.60 95%CI [1.37-4.91]), IBS mixed (aOR 2.97 95%CI [1.20-7.36]) and IBS diarrhoea (aOR 2.77 95%CI [1.01-7.59]).


This study suggests that a long term VD could be associated with IBS. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to confirm these results, and investigate the multiple aspects of the vegetarian diet, possibly related to the IBS.

Western Dietary Pattern Is Associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the French NutriNet Cohort

Nutrients. 2017 9(9):e986

Buscail C, Sabate JM, Bouchoucha M, Kesse-Guyot E, Hercberg S, Benamouzig R, Julia C.

Background: Diet appears to play a key role in the pathogenesis of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some dietary patterns (DP) could increase the risk of triggering or worsening IBS symptoms. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the association between a posteriori derived DP and IBS in a large French population, the web-based NutriNet-Santé cohort. Methods: Study population included participants of the NutriNet-Santé study who completed a questionnaire based on Rome III criteria assessing IBS. A principal component analysis (PCA) was performed to identify major DPs based on 29 food groups' consumption. Associations between DP quintiles and IBS were investigated with multivariable logistic regressions. Results: 44,350 participants were included, with 2423 (5.5%) presenting IBS. Three major DP were extracted using PCA, "healthy," "western," and "traditional." After adjustments on confounders, the "western" DP was positively associated with IBS (OR Q5 vs. Q1 = 1.38, 95% CI 1.19-1.61, p trend < 0.0001) and the "traditional" DP was positively associated with IBS in women (OR Q5 vs. Q1 = 1.29 95% CI 1.08-1.54, p trend = 0.001). Conclusions: In this study, a "western" DP-highly correlated with the consumption of fatty and sugary products and snacks-was associated with a moderate increased risk of IBS.

Red and processed meat intake and cancer risk: Results from the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

Int J Cancer. 2018 142(2):230-237

Diallo A, Deschasaux M, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, Galan P, Fassier P, Allès B, Guéraud F, Pierre FH, Touvier M

he International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO-IARC) classified red meat and processed meat as probably carcinogenic and carcinogenic for humans, respectively. These conclusions were mainly based on studies concerning colorectal cancer, but scientific evidence is still limited for other cancer locations. In this study, we investigated the prospective associations between red and processed meat intakes and overall, breast, and prostate cancer risk. This prospective study included 61,476 men and women of the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-2015) aged ≥35 y and who completed at least three 24 hrs dietary records during the first year of follow-up. The risk of developing cancer was compared across sex-specific quintiles of red and processed meat intakes by multivariable Cox models. 1,609 first primary incident cancer cases were diagnosed during follow-up, among which 544 breast cancers and 222 prostate cancers. Red meat intake was associated with increased risk of overall cancers [HRQ5vs.Q1 =1.31 (1.10-1.55), ptrend  = 0.01) and breast cancer (HRQ5vs.Q1  = 1.83 (1.33-2.51), ptrend  = 0.002]. The latter association was observed in both premenopausal [HRQ5vs.Q1 =2.04 (1.03-4.06)] and postmenopausal women [HRQ5vs.Q1 =1.79 (1.26-2.55)]. No association was observed between red meat intake and prostate cancer risk. Processed meat intake was relatively low in this study (cut-offs for the 5th quintile = 46 g/d in men and 29 g/d in women) and was not associated with overall, breast or prostate cancer risk. This large cohort study suggested that red meat may be involved carcinogenesis at several cancer locations (other than colon-rectum), in particular breast cancer. These results are consistent with mechanistic evidence from experimental studies.

Social disparities in food preparation behaviours: a DEDIPAC study

Nutr J. 2017 16(1):62

Méjean C, Si Hassen W, Gojard S, Ducrot P, Lampuré A, Brug H, Lien N, Nicolaou M, Holdsworth M, Terragni L, Hercberg S, Castetbon K.


The specific role of major socio-economic indicators in influencing food preparation behaviours could reveal distinct socio-economic patterns, thus enabling mechanisms to be understood that contribute to social inequalities in health. This study investigated whether there was an independent association of each socio-economic indicator (education, occupation, income) with food preparation behaviours.


A total of 62,373 adults participating in the web-based NutriNet-Santé cohort study were included in our cross-sectional analyses. Cooking skills, preparation from scratch and kitchen equipment were assessed using a 0-10-point score; frequency of meal preparation, enjoyment of cooking and willingness to cook better/more frequently were categorical variables. Independent associations between socio-economic factors (education, income and occupation) and food preparation behaviours were assessed using analysis of covariance and logistic regression models stratified by sex. The models simultaneously included the three socio-economic indicators, adjusting for age, household composition and whether or not they were the main cook in the household.


Participants with the lowest education, the lowest income group and female manual and office workers spent more time preparing food daily than participants with the highest education, those with the highest income and managerial staff (P < 0.0001). The lowest educated individuals were more likely to be non-cooks than those with the highest education level (Women: OR = 3.36 (1.69;6.69); Men: OR = 1.83 (1.07;3.16)) while female manual and office workers and the never-employed were less likely to be non-cooks (OR = 0.52 (0.28;0.97); OR = 0.30 (0.11;0.77)). Female manual and office workers had lower scores of preparation from scratch and were less likely to want to cook more frequently than managerial staff (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001). Women belonging to the lowest income group had a lower score of kitchen equipment (P < 0.0001) and were less likely to enjoy cooking meal daily (OR = 0.68 (0.45;0.86)) than those with the highest income.


Lowest socio-economic groups, particularly women, spend more time preparing food than high socioeconomic groups. However, female manual and office workers used less raw or fresh ingredients to prepare meals than managerial staff. In the unfavourable context in France with reduced time spent preparing meals over last decades, our findings showed socioeconomic disparities in food preparation behaviours in women, whereas few differences were observed in men.