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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Research Project #426560

Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

2019 Annual Report

The mission of the Nutrient Data Laboratory is "To develop authoritative food composition databases and state of the art methods to acquire, evaluate, compile, and disseminate composition data on foods and dietary supplements available in the United States." The following three objectives and nine sub-objectives provide the infrastructure for completing planned research over the next five years and the guiding principles for accomplishing the research with a clear, scientific focus. Objective 1. Develop and expand the USDA-ARS food composition databases to represent the dynamics of the U.S. food supply, including increased use of commercially packaged foods, restaurant foods, school foods, and ethnic foods. Sub-Objective 1.A. Update the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) to represent the dynamics of the current U.S. food supply, including increased availability and variety of commercially packaged, restaurant, school, and ethnic foods. Sub-Objective 1.B. Expand and update existing food yield and nutrient retention factor tables to reflect current food preparation methods and food products. Sub-Objective 1.C. Provide nutrient composition data for use in the national survey, What We Eat In America (WWEIA), NHANES. Sub-Objective 1.D. Monitor sodium and related nutrients in commercially processed and restaurant foods in the U.S. food supply. Objective 2. Develop authoritative food composition databases for non-nutritive components that may promote health; examples include isothiocyanates and other sulfur-containing compounds. Expand existing databases, including flavonoids, to include more foods, variability estimates, and other information (cultivar, weather, growing conditions, etc.), which impact the nutrient values. Sub-Objective 2.A. Expand and update accurate representative values for a number of bioactive compounds in raw, processed, and prepared foods in different Special Interest Databases (SID). Sub-Objective 2.B. Develop a new Special Interest Database (SID) on the content of sulfur-containing bioactive compounds in selected foods, with special emphasis on variability and factors, e.g., cultivar, location, and growing conditions, which potentially could influence variability. Sub-Objective 2.C. Determine the effect of various preparation methods on the content of various bioactive compounds in selected foods. Objective 3. Identify, evaluate, and develop new methods for the acquisition, evaluation, compilation, and dissemination of food composition data from diverse sources through modernization of existing and development of new, robust information technology. Sub-Objective 3.A. Provide easy-to-use, web-based mechanisms for data submission. Sub-Objective 3.B. Enhance dissemination routines in the National Nutrient Databank System (NDBS) via automated methods to expand the types of data formats available on NDL’s web site.

Multiple methods for obtaining data will be used (e.g., nationwide product sampling and analysis, collaborations [food manufacturers, agricultural scientists], and publicly available information). The National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) generates high-quality, analytical data for U.S. foods and includes a rigorous scientific process to develop nationally representative estimates of means and variability, under USDA analytical oversight. The 5 aims are: a) identify/prioritize foods/nutrients for analysis; b) devise/implement nationally based sampling plan(s); c) analyze food samples; and d) review, compile, and disseminate data. Beef data will be evaluated by nutrient and cut and compared across primals (chuck, brisket, etc.) and cooking methods. New meat data processed through the National Data Bank System (NDBS) will support calculations of cooking yield and retention factors (means, variances, and associated 90% or 95% confidence intervals). NDL will identify SR foods to be added or updated; this list will be provided to FSRG to prioritize foods needed in WWEIA (e.g., commercially processed and restaurant foods to replace home recipes), ensuring WWEIA adequately represents respondent reports. For important new foods, NFNAP sampling may include analytical data available for the next survey-SR dataset; standardized NDBS imputation procedures will be used to calculate missing values. NDL analyzed each Sentinel Food (SF; 2010-2013) for all nutrients; they will be reanalyzed every 4-8 years depending on budget and priority using the Principal Axis Factoring (Factor Analysis): consumption frequency in WWEIA, NHANES, 2009-10; potential for reduction (New York City’s National Salt Reduction Initiative targets); and history of change in the market. NDL will obtain and disseminate data for sulfur-containing bioactive compounds, detailing other factors (cultivars, location, weather, growing conditions) which impact concentration and focusing on genus Brassica, Allium; samples will be obtained through NFNAP and analyzed by ARS-Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory (FCMDL) and sources and magnitudes of variability studied. Food selected for analysis for non-nutritive components will be based on flavonoid content, lack of analytical data, and potential for developing retention factors for related foods. The proanthcyanidin database will be expanded using formulations (linear regression techniques) developed for SR, to provide values to FSRG for foods reported in WWEIA-NHANES. Standardized, user-friendly databases will be released; collaboration with ILSI North America/Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership (ATIP) Foundation and the food industry will be explored to expand the number of brand name foods. ATIP will develop/manage a new portal to facilitate submission of food manufacturers’ brand name nutrient data, strengthening NDL database for policy makers, researchers and the public. In parallel, NDL will work with other partners to identify infrastructure improvements to the NDBS.

Progress Report
This is the final report for 8040-52000-064-00D entitled “USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition”. Over the past 5 years, nutrient data have been expanded and updated for ~300 food types and ~500 individual (brand name) foods. This includes 125 popular commercially processed and restaurant foods/components (detailed in Objective 1D), over 100 restaurant foods (fast-food and casual dining), 4 fat levels of cows’ milk, raw and cooked retail ground beef from 3 to 30% fat, a diverse number of domestic and wild meats, fowl and organs; the latter are not yet published. Many of these projects were done in collaborations with other agencies e.g., CDC and FDA. An assessment of the current knowledge of nutrient data on human milk composition was completed, and efforts initiated to set up collaboration for its improvement. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) released 3 updated versions of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR 27, SR 28, and SR Legacy). A new database, the USDA Global Branded Food Products Database (BFPD) was released and expanded several times and now contains ~250,000 foods. An iodine study was funded by the Office of Dietary Supplements that examined over 200 foods from NDL’s archived samples under the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) and also included newly sampled table salt, retail cow’s milk (four fat levels), and industrial frozen/dried egg products. These data were merged with FDA’s Total Diet Study to provide a Special Interest Database (N~400 foods) for inclusion into FDC. Both data sets are being prepared for release later in 2019. Phase 2 of this study will map the new iodine data to foods which are reported in the What We Eat In America national survey (WWEIA), NHANES. This project is underway and includes analysis of iodine in select dietary supplements; it will be released in manuscript format next year, 2020. In addition, NDL developed an expanded and updated table of cooking yields data for over 175 meat and poultry products (released September 2014). A brief summary of specific research projects: Nutrient composition data for use in What We Eat In America (WWEIA), NHANES: Over the past 5 years, nutrient data were provided for WWEIA, NHANES surveys (2013-2014 and 2015-2016), through a special dataset or releases of SR. These included 66 nutrients for ~3,500 foods. Many new foods in the marketplace were added, including several gluten-free products, milk substitutes, sauces and condiments, Greek yogurt, breakfast cereals, low-sodium meat products, whole grain pastas and baked products, infant and baby foods, beverages, school lunch pizzas and chicken products, fast-food sandwiches, and new beef cuts. Nutrient profiles were updated for several commonly consumed foods and many popular sodium-contributing foods. Sodium monitoring: In FY 2019, sodium values for selected popular commercially processed and restaurant foods (Sentinel Foods) were compared to baseline levels (2010-2013), using labels and laboratory values, providing an assessment of changes in the marketplace. Over the past 5 years, data for sodium, potassium, energy, total fat, saturated fat, total dietary fiber, and total sugar for 125 Sentinel Foods were finalized and released, providing baseline estimates to use in assessing changes as foods are reformulated for sodium reduction. Post-hoc analyses of these data were completed and published/presented, comparing similar restaurant and packaged foods, private-label and national brands, and label and laboratory values for the same products, providing insights into the food environment, improving databases, and helping public health officials strategize efforts needed to monitor sodium changes. Sentinel Foods were tracked for changes in label sodium values in 2015 and 2017 (~300 labels each), and 43 (1,181 samples); Sentinel Foods were resampled and analyzed to assess changes in sodium and related nutrient content. Update Special Interest Databases for bioactive compounds: In FY 2019, data for isoflavones and their metabolites were obtained in egg samples through collaboration with the American Egg Board. The data suggested that isoflavones and their metabolites existed at significant concentrations in processed eggs in the U.S. Considering consumption levels, eggs and egg products could be an important source of isoflavone intake in the U.S. A new high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method to accurately quantify cranberry A-type proanthocyanidins was further improved and validated with additional mass spectrometry characterization. Over the past 5 years, different classes of flavonoid compounds were analyzed in a number of different foods by working with Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory (FCMDL), outside collaborators or industry partners. The data either filled knowledge gaps or provided more accurate and representative compositional information on these food products. The information was used to add or update information in the three USDA Flavonoid Databases. The influence of specific bioactive compounds, such as epicatechin in tea and fatty acids in royal jelly, were studied using animal and cell culture models in collaborative studies. Inter-laboratory method evaluation for measuring vitamin D and 25(OH)D in animal-based foods and dietary supplements: NDL addressed knowledge gaps for reliable estimation of vitamin D intake [i.e., D2+D3+25(OH)D] and explored how this information impacted decisions about supplementation, fortification or other interventions. Five international and U.S. laboratories participated in the study with the Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH. This pilot provided methods information and data for 6 quality control materials in two separate trials, improving analytical methods. Results were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showing that vitamin D and 25(OH)D can be accurately determined in animal-based foods at natural levels and in supplements. The study provided data to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for certifying values for vitamin D and 25(OH)D in three of their standard reference materials. This reference materials allow other labs to produce scientifically sound data. Evaluate and process data for glucosinolates (GLS) for manuscript and database: In FY 19, continuous efforts were made to obtain and analyze data on dietary glucosinolates. Additional literature data (until the end of 2018) have been obtained. One hundred sixty four research papers were found containing the original data, of which, 32 were conducted in the U.S. and 132 were carried out in 29 other countries. The current dataset included 17 aliphatic, 4 aromatic and 4 indole GLSs in 20 different foods. The profile and content of glucosinolates were found to be greatly affected by the plant species/cultivars and environmental factors (e.g. soil condition, climate, irrigation, fertilizer, etc.). Over the last 5 years, extensive efforts were made to obtain and analyze the data to develop a new Special Interest Database on dietary glucosinolates; the majority of the data were from peer-reviewed publications. Analytical data on select cruciferous vegetables were also obtained by working with FCMDL. FCMDL-NDL studies compared different sample preparation and analytical procedures to quantify glucosinolates in vegetables, then evaluated the quality and develop inclusive and exclusive criteria of the literature data. Data provide a tool to estimate dietary intake of GLSs in the U.S. and other countries for assessing their possible roles in promoting human health. Analyze the effects of various processing/preparation on the retention of certain bioactive components: In FY2019, manuscript describing the effects of cooking on broccoli flavonoids and proposing different retention factors was published. Over the last five years, retention of bioactive compounds after domestic cooking were assessed in a number of commonly consumed vegetables, including broccoli, collard greens, kale, onion, and red cabbage in collaboration with FCMDL. Different subgroups of flavonoids (e.g. flavonols, anthocyanins) and glucosinolates were analyzed in raw and cooked forms. Apparent retention (AR) and true retention (TR) were compared and TR was proposed to be used in future studies. The data will provide more accurate information in calculating dietary intake of these bioactive compounds, and to help interpreting their health benefits from epidemiological studies. Provide easy-to-use, web-based mechanisms for data submission: The Global Branded Food Products Database (BFPD) was expanded to ~250,000 food records with submitters (GS1, Label Insight, ILSI NA, JIFSAN, OneWorldSync) using improved formats for import of data with quality control checks for incoming data. Enhance dissemination routines in the National Nutrient Databank System, FoodData Central: FDC was launched, completing the multi-year initiative to update USDA food composition databases, automate functionality and information transparency, and provide an integrated platform for all users. FDC houses the Standard Reference Legacy, FNDDS, new analytical data on Foundation Foods with drill-down capacity and metadata, the BFPD, and links to the NDL’s Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database and the Dietary Supplement Label Database.

1. Improving USDA food composition databases. USDA food composition databases are used by a diverse user community to make policy decisions, investigate the impact of diet on health, develop new foods, advise patients on improving their diet, and address the general need for more information on what is in the food we eat. An integrated data system, FoodData Central, was made public. It now provides all USDA food composition databases in a single location, plus expanded nutrient information and links to Special Interest Databases and related agricultural and experimental research data. The USDA databases include SR Legacy, Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS), the Global Branded Food Products Database, and Foundation Foods. Presentations and demos have been conducted to the outside users. A manuscript on the NIH workshop called “Human Milk Composition – Biological, Environmental, Nutritional, and Methodological Considerations” was published.

2. Sodium monitoring. Too much sodium in the diet can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most Americans consume more sodium than recommended for a healthy diet, and most of the sodium in the diet comes from commercially processed and restaurant foods. ARS researchers at Beltsville, Maryland, collaborated with CDC and FDA to track sodium levels in 125 of these foods. Our results show that majority of the foods have not changed. Only 1/3 of the products tracked show changes, with twice as many reductions as increases in sodium content of the foods. A manuscript assessing changes in the sodium content of selected popular commercially processed and restaurant foods was submitted.

3. Dietary bioactive compounds. Dietary bioactive compounds are of great interest for researchers and consumers due to their health benefits. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) in Beltsville, Maryland, developed three special interest databases on dietary flavonoids to meet the demands from federal agencies and the research societies. Over the last five years, NDL has acquired analytical data of various subgroups of flavonoids in a number of plant foods through working with FCMDL and outside collaborators. The obtained data were evaluated, processed and were used to update three special interest databases on dietary flavonoids to meet the demands of federal agencies and the research societies. Several research papers were published.

Review Publications
Wu, X., Wang, T.T., Prior, R.L., Pehrsson, P.R. 2018. Preventative effects on atherosclerosis by berries - the case of blueberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Ahuja, J.K., Li, Y., Nickle, M.S., Haytowitz, D.B., Roseland, J., Nguyen, Q., Khan, M., Wu, X., Somanchi, M., Williams, J.R., Pehrsson, P.R., Cogswell, M. 2018. Comparison of label and laboratory sodium values in popular sodium-contributing foods in the United States. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Qingshuang, C., Shanming, J., Yue, S., Linsheng, Y., Wu, X., Zhongwen, X. 2018. 10-Hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid attenuates angiotensin II-induced inflammatory responses in rat vascular smooth muscle cells. Journal of Functional Foods.