Evaluation of one’s diet is of importance to essentially all of our studies.  Thus, accurate assessment of dietary intake is also central to all of our research studies. This is why the Diet Assessment Laboratory is using the best available techniques to evaluate dietary intake in infants, children and adults. The Nutrition Data System for Research software is used to collect and analyze dietary intake such as 24-hour dietary recalls or food records. The Diet Assessment Laboratory also uses a weighing technique to measure formula or breast milk intake in infants.

The Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) is a dietary analysis program designed for the collection and analyses of dietary recalls, food records, menus, and recipes (Nutrition Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota). The software includes a dietary supplement assessment module so that nutrient intake from both food and supplemental sources may be captured and quantified. Dietary intake data gathered by interview is governed by the multiple-pass interview methodology. Four distinct passes provide multiple opportunities for the participant to recall food intake. The database includes over 18,000 foods including 7,000 brand name products. Ingredient choices and preparation methods provide more than 160,000 food variations. Analyses of the dietary intake of participants generate an output of 160 nutrients, nutrient ratios and other food components. It also generates results per ingredient, food, meal, and day. The output helps our Clinical Dieticians to assess participants’ dietary adequacy.

The weighing technique applies to all age groups. This technique allows an accurate measure of all food components ingested by a participant during a certain period of time. It is, however, a very demanding technique that requires a high level of commitment from participants and prohibits the evaluation of the usual dietary intake of participants since it can not apply to foods eaten outside the home. The Diet Assessment Laboratory uses this technique mostly for infants being either breast-fed or bottle-fed. In this particular case, either the infant or the bottle is being weighed before and after feeding to accurately and precisely estimate intake. This technique provides a better estimate of the actual intake of the infant.