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Polish polyphenol study identifies coffee, tea and chocolate as top contributors

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

The main three contributors to total polyphenol intake were coffee, tea, and chocolate consumption – together these made up 75% of all polyphenol intake.
The main three contributors to total polyphenol intake were coffee, tea, and chocolate consumption – together these made up 75% of all polyphenol intake.

Related tags Coffee Flavonoid Catechin

A population-level analysis of polyphenol intakes in Poland has revealed that coffee, tea and chocolate contribute around 75% of the polyphenols consumed in the country.

The data, published in Nutrition​, investigated the intake of known individual polyphenols and their major dietary sources in more than 10,000 people taking part in the Polish arm of a wider study on nutrition and health – known as the HAPIEE study.   

Led by Giuseppe Groso from University of Catania, Italy, the research team reported that total polyphenol intakes in the study – at 1756.5 mg per day – is higher than in previous reports for the Polish population, and also tops recent polyphenol intake data from France (1193 mg/d) Spain (820 mg/d) and Finland (863 mg/d).

“The flavonoids intake (897 mg/d) was higher than those reported for US, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan and similar to that reported for tea consumers in the US population,”​ they reported.

Grosso and his team also revealed that three quarters of this average population intake for total polyphenols come from just three sources – tea, coffee, and chocolate.

“The current study provides the most updated data for individual polyphenols intake in the diet of a well-established nutritional cohort,”​ wrote the authors. “These findings will be useful to assess potential beneficial role on health of specific foods with high polyphenol content and characterize the effects of individual phenolic compounds.” 

Polish polyphenol data

Grosso and his team analysed data from a random sample of 10,477 men and women aged between 45 and 69 years old from the of urban population of Krakow, Poland. Participants completed a validated 148-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), which was then used to calculate polyphenol intake by matching food consumption data with the recently developed Phenol-Explorer database.

“This study is the first to report a detailed description of the classes and individual polyphenols intake in a large nutritional cohort in Poland, and the largest among those studied,”​ said the authors.

The team reported that the mean intake of polyphenols was 1756.5 mg per day, of which the main polyphenol groups were flavonoids (897 mg/d) and phenolic acids (800 mg/d).

“A total of 347 polyphenols from 19 polyphenol subclasses were found,”​ said the team – adding that when adjusted by calorie intake, the Polish population data showed that women consume slightly higher levels of men in general – with the under 50’s consuming the most polyphenol rich products.

The main three contributors to total polyphenol intake were coffee, tea, and chocolate consumption – together these made up 75% of all polyphenol intake.

Grosso and his coleagues also identified the individual compounds with the highest intakes to be isomers of chlorogenic acid (i.e., 5-Caffeoylquinic acid and 4-Caffeoylquinic acid) among hydroxycinnamic acids (average intake 150 mg/d), that largely originated from coffee, and compounds belonging to the catechin chemical family [i.e., (+)-Gallocatechin, (-)-Epigallocatechin 3-O-gallate, and (-)-Epicatechin] among flavanols (average intake 50 mg/d), that mostly originated from tea and cocoa products.

Source: Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.04.012
'Estimated dietary intake and major food sources of polyphenols in the Polish arm of the HAPIEE study'
Authors:Giuseppe Grosso, Urszula Stepaniak, Roman Topor-Mądry, Krystyna Szafraniec, Andrzej Pająk

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