Nutritional status of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is often poor. In addition, popular trends in avoiding certain foods have been noted among patients with RA yet recent data on dietary intake is lacking. The aim of the present study was to examine possible differences in food intake between Swedish women with and without RA. In total 150 women with RA, selected from the Swedish Rheumatology Quality Register, and 163 women without RA, answered a postal food frequency questionnaire includsing questions on 45 food items, food choices, age, weight, height, educational level and serious illness. Women with RA consumed red meat and nuts less frequently and did not eat any butter/margarine on sandwiches or chose low fat varieties to a higher extent than women without RA. Background characteristics differed between the groups and were adjusted for in the analyses. To conclude, habits of women with RA differ to some extent from that of women without the disease; most importantly many women with RA exclude red meat. Future studies should include meal patterns and amounts of food consumed to obtain a wider, more accurate understanding of food consumption patterns of women with RA and to link this with concurrent disease activity.