Background: Dietary intake of macronutrient and foods is considered crucial to decrease the risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases. Methods: The aim of this study was to describe the intake of major food groups and macronutrients in a random sample of 1838 southern Italian adults. Results: No significant differences of macronutrient consumption between sexes were found. By contrast, younger individuals had significantly higher intake of animal protein than older ones. Men reported consuming significantly more total processed meats and less eggs than women; egg consumption significantly increased by age groups. Significantly lower intake of fruit in the younger age group compared to older ones was found. Various patterns of correlation between food groups were described. More than half of individuals reached the suggested recommendations for carbohydrate and fiber intake, and about two-thirds met the recommendations for total protein and cholesterol intake, while only a minority met for total fat intake. Total and plant protein, monounsaturated and omega-6 fatty acids, were significantly inversely related with BMI (body mass index), while trans fatty acids and cholesterol were directly correlated. A direct association with unprocessed meats and an inverse association with processed meats was also found. Conclusions: The overall findings suggest that relatively healthy dietary habits are common in southern Italy.
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