Nutrient Directory Caters To Consumers
By Rosalie Marion
March 27, 2002
Nutrient-conscious consumers and
dietary professionals keen to make informed food choices now are tapping a new
data resource available through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
Scientists with the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) in Beltsville, Md.,
recently launched an online directory where users can look up the amount of a
specified nutrient within any one of 1,147 food items. The consumer appeal of
the new online directory is evident from the number of e-mail inquiries that
have originated from the NDL home page, which has already received more than
100,000 visitors so far this year. To aid consumers, data in the new online
directory are served up by commonly consumed portion sizes.
The directory was made possible by NDLs new Nutrient Databank System,
which was developed in part to make it easier to disseminate web-based
information. The systems premier web-based product, the Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference, or SR14, features more than 6,000 food items and
provides a foundation for most public and private nutrient databases in the
To access the database, go to:
Click on "Reports by Single Nutrients"--the link is on the left
about 10 lines from the top. The resulting page has a table listing nutrients
such as protein, calcium, fiber, carbohydrate, cholesterol or fats. By clicking
on the button by each nutrient's name, a web visitor can sort the 1,147 food
items in the directory according to the content of that nutrient.
For example, a person whose doctor recommends eating more dietary fiber
might look up all foods in the directory by fiber content from highest to
lowest. A consumer concerned about increasing calcium intake might look up the
calcium content of various foods. The same individual might also choose to view
all 1,147 food items alphabetically from A to Z, with a parallel column at
right displaying each food items corresponding calcium content.
NDL does not provide dietary advice, but instead recommends nutrition
counseling by qualified professionals referred by dietetic associations, health
departments or hospitals.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.