Specific fatty acids and sterols in food composites from seven countries were analyzed. In the 1960s, groups of 8 to 49 men from 16 cohorts, ages 40–59 years and living in the United States, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, the former Yugoslavia, or Japan recorded their food intake. In 1987, we collected food composites representing the average food intake per cohort sample in the 1960s. The foods were transported to the Netherlands, pooled, and centrally analyzed for energy, total fat, 42 fatty acids, cholesterol, and four plant sterols. The fat content ranged from 12% of total daily energy in the Tanushimaru, Japan, cohort to 50% in the U.S. cohort sample, and the polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio ranged from 0.17 in the east Finland cohort to 1.2 in Tanushimaru. The amount oftransfatty acids with 16 or 18 carbon atoms varied between 0.2 g/day in Corfu, Greece, and 8.6 g/day in Zutphen, Netherlands, and that of -linolenic acid between 0.8 g/day in Rome and 2.5 g/day in east Finland. The sum of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic acid ranged from 0.1 (U.S. railroad) to 2.0 g/day (Ushibuka, Japan), and phytosterols from 170 (U.S. railroad) to 358 mg/day (Corfu, Greece). Thus the intake of various fatty acids and sterols with potential relevance for coronary heart disease occurrence varied 10-fold or more between cohorts. Our data can be used to generate new hypotheses about the causes of differences in incidence of diseases between countries.