We compared fatty acid amounts in adipose tissue with fatty acid intak
e calculated from 2 separate weeks of diet recording and two food-freq
uency questionnaires for 140 participants in the Nurses' Health Study.
Our results showed that the amounts of polyunsaturated and trans fatt
y acids in adipose tissue reflect dietary intake and confirm those of
previous studies. The correlation between the polyunsaturated fatty ac
id content of adipose tissue and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake fro
m the average of the two food-frequency questionnaires was 0.40; this
correlation for trans fatty acids was also 0.40. Linolenic acid amount
s in adipose tissue were also moderately correlated with intake from t
he average of the food-frequency questionnaires (r = 0.34). An estimat
e of trans fatty acid intake from vegetable sources correlated much mo
re strongly with adipose trans fatty acids than did an estimate of tra
ns fatty acids from animal sources. Adipose tissue aspirates can be us
ed to indicate intake of exogenous fatty acids.