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By Rosalie Marion Bliss
October 10, 2014
The 2014 update of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27, has been launched. Containing data for more than 8,600 food items, the database is compiled by scientists at USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) in Beltsville, Maryland.
Each year, new food-nutrient profiles are added to the database, and existing nutrient profiles are updated using data generated by USDA-ARS through its National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program and collaborations with the food industry and with others.
The Internet "dashboard" that users see after launching the online version of the database has been reorganized so that users can more easily select and view food-nutrient profiles from individual food groups. Another new consumer-oriented upgrade allows users to look up the amount of a specific nutrient within any one of the database's food items. For example, a person whose doctor recommends more dietary fiber might sort all foods by fiber content from highest to lowest. A consumer who wants to increase calcium intake might sort by calcium content of foods.
To use the new feature, click on "Start your search here" at ndb.nal.usda.gov. Next, select "Nutrients List" from the menu options at the top. Click "Select nutrient" in the "First Nutrient" box to see a drop-down list of more than 100 nutrients such as protein, calcium, carbohydrate, cholesterol, fats, caffeine and vitamin K. A second and third nutrient also can be selected. Then choose to search either "All Foods" or the "Abridged List," which includes about 1,000 commonly eaten foods in the United States. Next, for the "Food Groups" selection, click on "All Food Groups" or one of the 25 food groups available. Decide whether to sort by "Food Name" or "Nutrient Content" in the next box. Then choose between "Household" and "100 grams" in the "Measure by" box and hit "Go."
The database is managed by scientists at the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
Read more about the USDA-ARS national nutrient data in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.