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ABOUT THE FOODWORKS DATABASE

The FoodWorks Database consists of more than 40,000 food references. These foods are derived from the following primary sources:

1) The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR): This data forms the basis of nearly all nutrient analysis software systems. It contains information for more than 7000 food items including some name brand foods, primarily in the categories of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, candies, infant formulas, and fast foods. This database was commonly referred to as Handbook 8 when it was available in printed form.

2) The Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS): This database is derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). It contains nutrient data for more than 13,000 food items. This database is the result of surveys to determine what Americans actually eat, so it is very useful as a tool for working with client records and recalls.  Some overlap exists between the Standard Reference and the FNDDS.  This is the database used by the FoodMate companion software.

 

3) The Canadian Nutrient File: This database contains nutrient data for more than 3,000 foods and is compiled by Health Canada for use by Canadian citizens and health/nutrition professionals.  Foods are listed by both their English and French names.

4) The pre-FNDDS Survey Data: Also derived from NHANES sources, this data includes foods consumed by individuals participating in nationwide food intake surveys prior to those studies that resulted in the FNDDS. It contains information for over 7000 combination foods, recipes, ethnic foods, name brand foods, as well as generic food items.

5) Historic Data and Other Data Sources: This data is derived from sources such as food manufacturers, fast food restaurants, analytical laboratories, and professional journals. This data category contains "historic" food references including "retired" foods. These references are retained to aid researchers who wish to perform analyses based on consumption records from surveys performed in the past.

 

6) The Fast Food Data Supplement: This data is obtained directly from selected fast food restaurants (McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sonic, Taco Bell, and Tim Horton's).  Data includes snapshot menu listings from 2009 to 2011.  Expanded nutrient data for selected items from these and other restaurants are also included in the SR and FNDDS database segments.

Nutrients: FoodWorks includes placeholders for 113 nutrients. With the constant expansion of the USDA Standard Reference, significant data are becoming available for nutrients that previously had sparse data. While not all foods include data for all nutrients, a sufficient volume of reliable data must be present for them to be included in FoodWorks.  When no reliable nutrient data exist for a particular nutrient in a particular food, it is flagged as such.

 

Current database standards: While no actual standards exist for the interchange of food/nutrient data between different software applications, nutrient databases tend to follow the standards established by the USDA.  In that standard, each food item contains a minimum of the food item description and the amount of one or more nutrients found in 100 grams of food.  Additionally, it is common to include a description for at least one household portion of the food along with that portion's gram weight and a code number or ID number for the food.  This is the data standard to which FoodWorks adheres.

YOU CAN ADD FOODS TO THE DATABASE.  Despite the volume of food/nutrient data provided with FoodWorks, you will inevitably discover foods that are not referenced.  This is because the number of distinct food items available in U.S. markets easily exceeds 500,000.  To compound this issue, foods are constantly being reformulated, removed from the market, or replaced with new offerings.  Regionally unique foods and ethnic imports further increase the likelihood that you will need to add data to your database.

 

Thanks to nutrition labeling laws, a basic data set can be found on almost all food packages in the form of the Nutrition Facts panel.  FoodWorks includes a data editor function that allows you to add new foods to the database as well as modify data in the database.  The editor is a simple "fill-out" form that is intuitive and easy to use.  You can use any reliable source of data provided that you know the gram weight of the amount of food on which the nutrient values are based.  Foods you add to FoodWorks are placed in the User Database, which is separate from the FoodWorks database. When you search for a food item, FoodWorks searches its own database first and then searches the User Database. Thus, foods you add will tend to appear at the end of any list of search results. For example, if you add Duck Soup to the database, then search for SOUP, your Duck Soup will be found after any soups in the FoodWorks database are found. Thus, on the screen it will appear near the end of the list of all of the foods found to contain the word soup.

 

DATABASES CAN BE TURNED ON AND OFF. All foods are tagged so that you can tell their data source at a glance. In the course of your work, you may find that certain database segments meet your needs more than others.  Or, you may wish to search only the foods you have added to the database.  You can control the foods you search by turning on or off those databases you wish to use or not use.

 

THE NUTRITION COMPANY PROVIDES DATABASE SERVICES.  If you have a project that requires food/nutrient data, or if you need assistance with nutrient data questions, The Nutrition Company can consult with you to provide customized nutrient data structures that can be used to build databases for research projects, websites, and many other tasks.  Click here to go to the database services information page.