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NCC News Bite | October 2022



This edition contains the following articles:



Thank You for Completing the Survey


Many thanks to those of you who completed our recent Client Survey! We are reviewing the results and your suggestions closely to help improve NDSR and our services. Some of the questions and requests that came in through the survey will be answered in future issues of the NCC News Bite. If you have any other questions about using NDSR, we invite you to email us at anytime. We like hearing from you, and you don’t have to wait for the next survey to submit other questions. Our User Support team is available to help answer your questions.




Answer to Question Frequently Asked About Added Sugars Variables in NDSR Output Files


NDSR includes two Added Sugars variables in the NDSR output files–Added Sugars (by Available Carbohydrate) and Added Sugars (by Total Sugars), and often we are asked to explain the difference between the two. So, here it is, starting with the general definition of Added Sugars.


Added Sugars are those sugars and syrups added to foods during food preparation or commercial food processing. Ingredients designated as “added sugar” foods in the NCC database include: white sugar (sucrose), brown sugar, powdered sugar, honey, molasses, pancake syrup, corn syrups, high fructose corn syrups, invert sugar, invert syrup, malt extract, malt syrup, fructose, glucose (dextrose), galactose, and lactose. They do not include mono- and disaccharides occurring naturally in foods, such as lactose in milk or fructose in fruit.


The Added Sugars (by Available Carbohydrate) value assigned by NCC to foods considered to be sources of added sugars represents the amount of available carbohydrate present in the food, which includes saccharides of all types. Mono- and disaccharides along with saccharides with a higher degree of polymerization that are resistant to digestion (e.g., trehalose) are included under this definition.


For example, corn syrups with different Dextrose Equivalency (DE) contain a high amount of trisaccharides and other higher saccharides (approximately 75%) due to the incomplete hydrolysis of the cornstarch. These more complex sugars are included under Added Sugars (by Available Carbohydrate).


The Added Sugars (by Total Sugars) value assigned by NCC to foods considered to be sources of added sugars represents the amount of total sugars present in the food, which includes only mono- and disaccharides. The Added Sugars (by Total Sugars) variable aligns with how this food component is defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Nutrition Fact labeling.


Do you have questions about other nutrients and food components in NDSR output files? Note that the NDSR User Manual includes detailed nutrient information in Appendix 11. Also, detailed information may be found on our website (definitions and units can be viewed by clicking on category titles).




Why Aren’t Regional Fast Food Chains or Non-Fast Food Restaurants Included in NDSR?


The NCC Food and Nutrient Database currently includes menu items for 23 leading fast food restaurants. Nonetheless, we’re often asked why we don’t include more regional fast food chains or popular non-fast food restaurants in the database. The answer to this question primarily relates to resource constraints, as adding and updating restaurant menu items is labor intensive. Also, in some cases information needed to add menu items to our database are lacking (e.g. restaurant does not provide ingredient listing or basic nutrient content information for menu items).


To assist you with data entry of foods reported from regional fast food chains and non-fast food restaurants that aren’t found in the database, we suggest you look for a close match in the database, either generically (from the mixed dish, sandwich, or salad hierarchy) or from a restaurant that we do have. Examples are 1) if a Starbucks grande café latte is reported – look for the generic café latte and choose the appropriate FSU; 2) the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad – look in the salad hierarchy for the Asian chicken salad; 3) a Carl’s Jr. hamburger – choose the Hardee’s hamburger; and 4) for a blooming onion – enter as ‘onion rings’ and have the participant estimate it as a portion of onion rings. For foods that are reported often, and for which there isn’t a database option that fits your needs, you can submit it for a New Food Resolution and note under “Other Information” that you would like the food considered for addition to the database. Please feel free to contact User Support at if you have any additional suggestions for generic restaurant food items to add to the database.




Nutrition Evaluation of the Emergency Meals-to-You Program (eMTY)


NCC was pleased to carry out an analysis of the nutritional quality of meals delivered to rural children in households with lower income as part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Meals-to-You (eMTY) program. Over the summer of 2020 the eMTY program provided over 37 million meals to 275,000 rural children in 43 states through home-delivered boxes of shelf-stable food. The program was run by the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty in partnership with Chartwells K12, PepsiCo Food for Good, and McLane Global. Every two weeks, a box containing food for 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches—enough for two weeks—was delivered to the student’s home or to a centralized location when necessary. The meals were to be planned to meet the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) nutrition standards. Results of the nutrition evaluation of the eMTY program are available. Click here for the full report, or download the executive summary here.


Do you have menus that need to be evaluated for nutritional quality? NCC Research Services is available to conduct menu analysis through our Menu Analysis service. Contact Kerrin Brelje at for more information or a price quote.

How does NCC impute nutrients?

One of the features of NDSR that makes it the choice of researchers is the small number of missing nutrient values for foods in the database. This is an essential feature because missing nutrient values for foods are ultimately calculated as zeros in nutrient intake estimates.
To minimize the number of missing values, NCC uses several standardized procedures to impute or logically calculate an estimation. These procedures are described in Procedures for estimating nutrient values for food composition databases. To summarize, one of the following procedures is employed to estimate a nutrient value for a food when an analytic value is not available from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory or cannot be found in the literature:

  • Value from a different but similar food is used. (e.g., missing nutrient for wild duck may be judged to be the same as known nutrient in domestic duck)
  • Value for another form of the same food is calculated (e.g., convert from raw to cooked values using retention factors)
  • Calculate values from other components in the same food (e.g., estimate beta-carotene from Vitamin A)
  • Calculate value from household recipes or commercial food product formulations for multicomponent foods (e.g., Manufacturers may provide ingredient listing and macronutrient composition of product. From the macro-nutrients, NCC database scientists estimate the amount of each ingredient. Based on the estimated amounts of the ingredients, micro-nutrients can be imputed for the product.)

Missing values are allowed in the database for foods that are consumed in very small quantities, such as spices, or where there are no data to indicate whether the nutrient exists in the food.
Some nutrients have no missing values, but a high percentage of imputed values. An example is Vitamin A which is calculated from provitamin A carotenoids and retinol.

In future versions of the database, missing and estimated values will be replaced by analytic values as they become available.

What is the NCC Flavonoid and Proanthocyanidin Provisional table and how can it be used?

Since 2005, NCC has maintained the NCC Flavonoid and Proanthocyanidin Provisional table. In the 2022 version of this table, values for one or more of 26 flavonoids* are provided for 999 foods in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database. Additionally, values are provided for one or more of five classes of proanthocyanidins* for 1154 foods. Nutrient values in the provisional table are reported as mg/100g edible portion of food.
Nutrient values for the table have been compiled from the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Release 3.3 (Mar. 2018), the USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods, Release 2.1 (Mar. 2018), as well as from scientific literature.

The NCC Flavonoid and Proanthocyanidin Provision Table may be linked to foods in the NDSR component/ingredient output file. By carrying out this linkage, one may estimate intake of the flavonoids and proanthocyanidins in the Table, recognizing that composition data is missing for many foods, and therefore intake may be underestimated to some extent.
The current price for the 2022 Flavonoid and Proanthocyanadin Provisional table is $1,050. Please contact NCC for more information or if you are interested in licensing the table.
*Values are missing for some of the flavonoids/proanthocyanidins in the provisional table. Many of these values are based on analytical data and NCC imputed values for only some categories of food, for example cooked and corresponding canned vegetables were assigned similar values.

Has NDSR been validated?

NDSR is designed for collecting 24-hour dietary recalls and analyzing food records. The validity of these approaches to dietary intake assessment have been assessed in numerous studies, some of which involved the collection/analysis of dietary recalls and records using NDSR.
One suggested resource for learning about the validity of 24-hour dietary recalls and foods records is Chapter 3 (24-Hour Recall and Food Record Methods) in the text Nutritional Epidemiology (third edition, 2013) by Walter Willett.
Another resource for locating validation studies involving specific demographic groups (e.g. children, African Americans, etc.) is the National Cancer Institute’s Dietary Assessment Calibration/Validation Register.
The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Measures Registry also provides references on the validity of various dietary assessment measures, including 24-hour dietary recalls for children.
NDSR has been used for dietary intake assessment in hundreds of nutrition related studies. A compilation of papers published by NDSR users is available.

How does NDSR compare to other dietary analysis software?

NDSR is unique in a number of ways, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Allows for direct data entry of 24-hour dietary recalls using a multiple-pass approach to recall collection. Interview prompts are provided to both expedite and standardize the recall interview.
  • Includes a standard Introduction Script that can be customized for each project.
  • Includes interview prompts in both English and Spanish and over 300 Hispanic foods.
  • Includes a Dietary Supplement Assessment Module so that nutrient intake from both food and supplemental sources may be quantified. The module is supported by a database that includes over 2,000 dietary supplements. A ‘missing product’ feature in the software allows the user to add products to the database.
  • Is supported by a comprehensive, complete, and current food and nutrient database.
  • Provides reports and output files to meet the needs of researchers.
  • Offers a comprehensive two-day dietary interviewer training workshop.
  • How does NDSR compare to ASA24?

    NDSR is a PC-based dietary analysis program for 24-hour dietary recall collection and analysis of food records, menus, and recipes. Collection of dietary recalls is carried out by an interviewer who is trained in the use of NDSR. The dietary recalls may be collected over the telephone or in-person.
    The ASA24 is a web-based dietary analysis program for 24-hour dietary recall and food record collection. It is designed for self-administration, and thus requires the study participant have internet access and some level of literacy and familiarity with computers or mobile devices.
    NDSR and ASA24 differ in a variety of important ways beyond platform and mode of use. To summarize, NDSR has more foods, nutrients, and quality assurance capabilities than ASA24. The ASA24 may be less costly because it is self-administered and the program is available for use at no charge.
    The following documents provide greater detail regarding the differences and similarities of NDSR and ASA24 for 24-hour dietary recall collection:

    Give a Gift

    Help support our mission to support nutrition research and health promotion. NCC provides state-of-the-art software and databases to researchers for assessing food and nutrient intake.
    Some of our recent projects include adding foods from more diverse cooking traditions to our database, creating new data files for our clients to make their analysis easier, and helping researchers adapt NDSR for research outside of the US.
    To make a donation to the U of M Nutrition Coordinating Center (NCC):
    Online: Give to the U of M Nutrition Coordinating Center
    By phone: with a credit card, by calling 800-775-2187 or 612-624-3333
    By mail: Send your check to the University of Minnesota Foundation, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55455-2010. Please note on the MEMO line that this is for the “Nutrition Coordinating Center Fund.”
    By using the online, secure form, your gift goes directly to the U of M Nutrition Coordinating Center, and you can have an immediate impact on NCC’s work. All gifts are received and processed by the University of Minnesota Foundation.
    If you are interested in discussing a donation to a specific area of focus that is consistent with the Nutrition Coordinating Center’s mission, contact us at or 612-626-9450.
    Thank you for your generous support!

    NCC News Bite | August 2022


    This edition contains the following articles:


    NDSR 2022 is available!


    We want to make sure that everyone knows that NDSR 2022 is now available!  If your annual support is current, the primary account holder at your institution should have received an email with a link to download the newest version of NDSR.  If you haven’t already, we highly recommend upgrading to NDSR 2022, as we have made program improvements and added new foods. Highlights include the addition of Healthy Eating Index (HEI) reports and output data files to NDSR 2022. The new HEI 2015 output data are available for dietary recall, food record, and menu record types. One of the files provides the HEI total scores, component scores, and contributing dietary constituents at the intake record or menu level, and the other provides these variables at the meal level. Menu planners may find the HEI reports useful as a quick way of evaluating the extent to which planned menus align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


    For tips on upgrading, see our FAQ page and click on ‘Upgrading’.  If you did not receive an email with an upgrade link, contact


    If you are not a currently supported client and want access to NDSR 2022, email for pricing and other details on reinstating support.

    Use the ‘restore’ feature in NDSR 2022 to obtain HEI output files for dietary data entered in past versions of NDSR

    Projects that were created in NDSR 2013 or a subsequent version of the program using the record types: Recall, Record, and Record-assisted Recall may be restored in NDSR 2022 to obtain HEI 2015 output files. All editing of foods and amounts entered into these record types must be done in the database version used to create them. Make sure to complete all editing of foods and amounts before restoring intake record projects to NDSR 2022.

    Once the project has been restored into NDSR 2022, the HEI project and record reports and HEI output files may be generated.  You can generate the HEI reports and the output files on the project as you restored it, or you can move some or all of the records from the restored project into another project to combine them with records generated in other versions of NDSR.   For more information on backing up projects and restoring projects into a newer version of NDSR, see Chapter 9 in the NDSR User Manual or the FAQ on our website under the heading Tips using NDSR.

    Another NDSR Training Opportunity


    We have added another NDSR Training Workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 30-31 due to high demand. Register here by August 22 if you are interested in this Zoom training. If the limited seats in the training are filled, registration will close early. 


    New Foods


    The following new foods are available to you at no additional charge with this edition of the NCC News Bite. A New Foods Backup File is available for download on our website under New Food Backup Files“August 2022”.

    BodyArmor Sports Drink – Blue Raspberry

    Jimmy Dean Pancake and Sausage on a Stick

    Post Premier Protein Mixed Berry Almond Cereal

    Ripple Kids Plant Based Milk – Original

    Nature’s Path Love Crunch Granola – Apple Chia

    Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps

    Dot’s Pretzels

    Caulipower Pizza – Margherita



    What’s New in NDSR 2022

    NDSR 2022 Program Updates
     HEI 2015 Output Files and Reports added to NDSR 2022
    In NDSR 2022, new Healthy Eating Index (HEI) output data files are provided that include HEI 2015 total and component scores for dietary recall, food record, and menu record types. One of the files provides the HEI total and component scores at the intake record or menu level, and the other provides scores at the meal level. In addition to including index total and component scores, the files will include the variables on which scores are based (e.g. serving of vegetables in cup equivalents).
    The new HEI Reports included in NDSR 2022 are designed for use in providing study participants/patients with information on the nutritional quality of their diet. Menu planners may find the report useful as a quick way of evaluating the extent to which planned menus align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Along with listing total and component scores for both adequacy and moderation components (page 1 of report), the report explains how to maximize your score for each component (page 2 of report).  You will be able to generate a report that provides HEI total and component scores for one intake record or menu, and another report can be generated to provide HEI total and component scores across a set of intake records or menus (e.g. across multiple dietary recall records for a participant).
     Data collected in NDSR 2013 or a subsequent version of the program may be restored in NDSR 2022 for creation of HEI 2015 reports and output files. However, HEI reports cannot be generated and HEI output files will be missing or have blank values for all HEI 2015 variables.
     Note: Two differences exist between the calculations used for NDSR 2022 HEI 2015 Output Files and the Legacy SAS code provided on the NCC website.  Please see the Healthy Eating Index web page for the differences in how some contributing dietary constituents are calculated between the two methods.
     2022 NCC Food and Nutrient Database Updates
     Updates to meat, poultry, fish and mixtures; grain products; fruits; and vegetables categories in FNDDS 2017-2018 were integrated.
     The Dietary Supplement Assessment Module (DSAM) database was updated to integrate the NHANES 2017-March 2020 Pre-Pandemic Database (January 2022) and to update NCC maintained brands of fiber, calcium, and multivitamin supplements.
     Salad dressings were updated. Over 500 brand name salad dressings are now included in NDSR.  New products lines added include Annie’s, Bolthouse Farms, Healthy Choice, Ken’s Steak House, and Store Brand (e.g. Great Value).
     Special formulated drink category was updated. A total of 385 brand name drinks are now included in NDSR. As part of the update for this category, we added a number of new product lines, including Body Fortress, Fairlife Core Power, Muscle Milk, Orgain, PediaSure, Premier Protein, Pure Protein, and Quest.
    Ultra-filtered milks were added to the milk hierarchy and as a variable ingredient option for foods that may be prepared with milk.
    Fast food and commercial entrée updates were carried out. The following fast food restaurants were updated: Arby’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Hardee’s, Little Caesars, Subway, Taco John’s, and White Castle. The following commercial entrée brands were updated: Chef Boyardee, Jenny Craig, Kashi, Michelina’s, Smucker’s Uncrustables, and Stouffer’s.
    Other brand name categories updated include General Mills ready-to-eat cereals and Girl Scout cookies.
    Foods unique to Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, and Somali cooking traditions were added. NCC continued the initiative to add foods unique to Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, and Somali cooking traditions. A list is available for the 75 new foods added to NDSR 2022.
    Some additional foods added include:

    Beet juice

    Chokecherry – fresh

    Cold cut sandwich on loaf bread

    Jute (ewedu, lalo, or saluyot)


    Sausage options for mixed dishes with pasta, with rice, and without pasta or rice

    Vegetables, mixed and/or combination vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower