The dietary record, also commonly known as food diary, is a prospective method of collecting dietary information and consists of a detailed description of all foods, drinks and supplements consumed, as well as a breakdown of the amount consumed, the place of consumption and meal timings.
The food diary can refer to several days of observation (ideally between 3 and 7), depending on the precision of the estimates we want to make.
The 24-hour food questionnaire differs from the dietary record in that infomation is collected retrospectively and the questionnaire is usually administered by an interviewer, however, similarly to the dietary records, it allows for a detailed description of food consumption throughout the day and a breakdown of all meals.
Given the difficulty of applying it repeatedly, it is consensual that two days of reporting may be sufficient to provide a representation of the consumption of a group of individuals.
The processing and coding of the reported information presents a high level of complexity and requires specialised technical knowledge. Using the eAT24 software, developed within the scope of the National Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, the foods and recipes described in the dietary record or in the 24-hour questionaire are coded according to the European FoodDEx2 system. Using a compilation of databases on the nutritional composition of foods (Portuguese Food Composition Table), but also from other countries and specific bromatological dosages of some nutrients, the food intake is converted into its respective nutrient consumption and total energy intake.
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