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close this book Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987)
close this folder The uses of food composition data
close this folder Food composition -a key to dietary appraisal and improvement in the United States
View the document (introductory text)
View the document Introduction
View the document Food composition data needs
View the document National nutrition monitoring system
View the document Nutrition education
View the document Discussion
View the document Approaches to meeting data needs
View the document References



This review of food composition data needs illustrates that the uses of food composition data are numerous and that data needs differ.

Nutrients and other food components for which data are needed differ by:

- energy and proximate composition;
- plus selected vitamins and minerals;
- plus other food components of dietary and health concern;
- plus pesticides, residues, toxicants, and additives.

Foods for which data are needed differ by:

- stage in the production-to-consumption chain (food supply - pre-retail; food as purchased; food as eaten);
- amount of processing and preparation (raw carrots; frozen carrots; carrots frozen in butter sauce; carrots cooked from those frozen in butter sauce);
- nature of descriptive characteristics (grapefruit, pink grapefruit, pink grapefruit grown in Texas, pink grapefruit grown in Texas under specified conditions and picked x weeks before market).

Degree of precision and accuracy needed differs: specific food must be analysed;

- samples of food must be specific for cultivar, place grown, and other characteristics that affect composition;
- values must be representative of a food as consumed in the United States;
- representative values are required, plus imputed values if analytical data are not available.

Units of measure of food differ:

- values for edible part of a pound of food as purchased;
- values for 100 grams of edible food;
- values for a household measure (cup, slice, piece, etc.) of food.

Complexity of presentation format differs:

- for scientists;
- for educators and health professionals;
- for the general public.