Evaluate or Plan Food Intakes

Another use of food composition data is to examine intakes from food groups—at the level of the individual, the population group, or the country. Such analyses are facilitated if each of the food items in a food composition table is assigned to a food group using a predetermined food grouping scheme. Once foods are categorized into groups, it is possible to examine intakes from each group (as grams per day) as well as nutrient intakes from each group (e.g., dietary fiber from grains). A further refinement of the food group assignments includes an indication of the number of servings that each food contains (usually per 100 g of the food). Thus, 100 g of orange juice contains approximately one-half of a serving of fruit (assuming 4 cup, or 188 g, of juice is considered a serving). Using such a scheme, it is possible to calculate the number of servings consumed from each food group in a day and compare these intakes to dietary guidance for a country. The Food Guide Pyramid is used for such guidance in the United States, and the US Department of Agriculture has developed a Pyramid Servings Database that may be used to calculate intakes of 30 food groups (Table 3).

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