In 1987-1988, the first Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (DNFCS) was conducted among 5898 subjects, aged 1-85 years. In 1992, the second survey was carried out among 6218 subjects, aged 1-92 years. Data of the first DNFCS were converted into energy and nutrients with the 1986-1987 version of The Netherlands nutrient databank (NEVO). The latest update of the 1993 NEVO Table was used to convert the 1992 food consumption data. This update reflected real changes in food availability but also artefactual changes due to improvements in the quality of the data. Compared with the results of the first DNFCS, in 1992 a substantially lower fat intake was observed (105 vs 92 g/day). Roughly half of the difference could be ascribed to changes in food choices, and the remaining half to changes in nutrient databanks. After correction for artefacts in nutrient databases the real difference in fat intake between the first and the second DNFCS was assessed to be 11 g/day. In conclusion, changes in food consumption data over time should be interpreted with care, and it is important to separate facts from artefacts.