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How can I measure my own food's nutritional content?

  1. Nov 20, 2007 #1
    What kind of tools would I need to measure a specific nutrient from foods I buy with no labels on them, or foods I bake? I.e. I want to test the protein quality, kind of fats, or magnesium in the food per 10g serving.

    Is it even possible for a normal person to do this as little hobby?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    A lot of the nutritional labelling you see on processed and canned foods is based on the data from the USDA NAL Nutrient database. Those labels represent a kind of average analysis based on the recipe for the product. It is done this way because large food processors - other than doing microbial analyses - are avoiding the large costs of directly analyzing proteins, for example.

    Before I yammer on too much it would be easier if you peeked here:
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/


    Companies involved in food labelling often use database/spreadsheet applications that use data downloaded from this site
     
  4. Nov 21, 2007 #3

    marcusl

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    Agreed. I also use the NAL database. If you look up everything you eat and write down the numbers in a journal, within a week you'll have a good enough feel that you will accurately estimate those few foods that are unlabeled.

    In addition to the items you mentioned, you might track your dietary fiber intake. Typical American diets are woefully short in fiber.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2007 #4

    marcusl

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  6. Nov 22, 2007 #5
    Hey, when I click on the link I get a browser that piles up text. I tried saving file but it's only a .txt file. Tried opening it with adobe reader but it doesn't work. I was wanting to print some :mad:

    Thanks for the links, I never knew about them.
     
  7. Nov 22, 2007 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Most of the files on that page are not human readable.

    Look for the link in the middle of the page that says "nutrient lists"
     
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