Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nutritional Analysis

Bomb CalorimeterLet it be said, I haven't been employing bomb calorimetry to arrive at the number of calories in 223 dry-roasted soybeans. Although I've used a calorimeter, and the thrill of exploding food in the kitchen to measure potential calories is almost irresistible to me, the FRE wouldn't have it. When you have ownership of clean-up1, and you (sometimes) walk in to find bits of dried yam stuck to impossible-to-reach places in the oven, you put your foot down on things like converting the dining room to a laboratory, especially when reactions involving high pressures and temperatures would be ... at play.

So, to answer one of the questions I'm often asked, most recently put forth in an email from Kurt:

Q. How do you determine the nutritional content of your recipes?

A. I use a software program called Nutritionist Pro™ by Axxya Systems. No diet analysis tool is satisfyingly accurate (a deficiency that lies not so much with the database but with the gap in information between what's on the plate and what gets input to the program as being on the plate), but it can reveal areas of deficiency or overindulgence. Although I like Axxya's product, I don't mean to plug it. It just happens to be one I use.

A very good, free (paid for by your taxes), online source for nutrient data can be found on the USDA's food look-up site. Of course, you'll need to do a little math if you're working with a recipe - or a meal that contains more than just 1 medium banana. But their database is reliable and a LOT easier to use than the books of tables I used years ago.2

1 I am forever indebted, FRE.
2 Just because some of my functional adulthood was spent during a time before PCs does not make me old. It doesn't.


Anonymous said...

I would also suggest CRONoMeter for nutritional analysis. It gets its data from the USDA as far as I know, but it greatly simplifies that process. It also allows you to create your own recipes and foods, track your foods/meals, etc. Great free program that is available for all popular computer platforms at http://spaz.ca/cronometer/.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually looking for nutritional analysis software right now, and also considering Lifeform and Fitday. Have you compared CROnoMeter to other programs, or is it the first one you've used?


Bix said...

Some diet analysis software: