Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 2017. doi:10.1080/10256016.2017.1302447


Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


Natural stable isotope ratios (δ15N) of humans can be used for nutritional analyses and dietary reconstruction of modern and historic individuals and populations. Information about an individual’s metabolic state can be obtained by comparison of tissue and dietary δ15N. Different methods have been used to estimate dietary δ15N in the past; however, the validity of such predictions has not been compared to experimental values. For a total of 56 meals and 21 samples of 24-h diets, predicted and experimental δ15N values were compared. The δ15N values were predicted from self-recorded food intake and compared with experimental δ15N values. Predicted and experimental δ15N values were in good agreement for meals and preparations (r = 0.89, p < .001) as well as for the 24-h diets (r = 0.76, p < .001). Dietary δ15N was mainly determined by the amount of fish, whereas the contribution of meat to dietary δ15N values was less pronounced. Prediction of human dietary δ15N values using standardized food records and representative δ15N data sets yields reliable data for dietary δ15N intake. A differentiated analysis of the primary protein sources is necessary when relating the proportion of animal- derived protein in the diet by δ15N analysis.