Category Archives: Newsletter

NCC News Bite – April


This edition contains the following articles:

Introducing the Nutrition Coordinating Center Forum


We know the users of NDSR and the NCC Database have knowledge and valuable experience to share. That’s why we’re taking our community-building to a new level with the introduction of the Nutrition Coordinating Center Forum, a LinkedIn group where users can virtually meet and learn from one another’s experiences with the NDSR software and NCC Database files. The NCC Forum is an additional channel we are hosting to help foster connection within our community. It is NOT replacing the NCC website,, or NCC News Bites.


The NCC forum is powered by you, our community. Please help make it a valuable place to share knowledge, skills, experience, and tips with one another through ongoing discussion.


For example, the NCC forum is a great place to:

  • Engage in real-time chat with the community, share how you’re using NDSR and/or NCC Database files and what you learned along the way, and get ideas from colleagues.
  • Search the archives to see how others are using NDSR and the Database.
  • Engage in discussions about use of certain features, data collection protocols, and analysis plans.


You will need to create a LinkedIn account, if you do not already have one, to view or add posts and replies to the NCC Forum.


Then go to the Nutrition Coordinating Center Forum and click on the JOIN button. 


All requests to join and all new posts require NCC approval, which may take up to 1 business day.


Your participation counts – join today to connect, share, and learn.



Fish Tacos, Jimmy John’s and more coming in NDSR 2024


Our database team has been working hard, as they do every year, to update the NCC Food and Nutrient Database that will be a part of NDSR 2024.  To highlight some of the many changes:


  • Fish tacos with cabbage have been added, and taco options restructured
  • Jimmy John’s has been added to our Fast Food restaurants
  • More foods unique to Hawaiian eating traditions have been added
  • Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes have been updated
  • Crackers have been updated
  • Aguas frescas flavors have been expanded based on specific requests submitted through our client survey
  • Arugula has been added as a variable ingredient option in salads
  • Thousands of small yet important changes to nutrient values for foods have been made based on recent data from the USDA Foundation Foods Database and the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) 2019-2020


We are excited to release the new database with NDSR 2024 this summer.



NCC at the National Nutrient Databank Conference


NCC Director Dr. Lisa Harnack, and Database Scientist Jenny Stevenson will be representing NCC at the National Nutrient Databank Conference from May 21-23, 2024 in Ottawa, Canada and would welcome the opportunity to talk with you while you are there.  Dr. Harnack will also be giving two oral presentations—”Plant-based milk alternative products are highly heterogeneous in nutrient composition” and “Snack and Meal Replacement Bars Available in the U.S. Marketplace are Heterogeneous in Macronutrient Content”.



In Memory of Mary Stevens


Those of you who have been in touch with NCC for a while may remember Mary Stevens who was the NCC Service Center Manager until she retired in 2011.  We are sad to share that she passed away on February 11th and a funeral was held in March. Her obituary is available at this link.  As Service Center Manager Mary facilitated dietary data collection and quality assurance work for countless studies, including complex important studies such as the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, INTERMAP, and the Primary Prevention of Obesity in North American Indians Study (Pathways). Mary put her all into supporting high quality dietary intake assessment for every project. She had the unique ability to work collaboratively to figure out solutions to practically any dietary assessment need or problem that arose. Also, she was a delightful person to work with. We remember Mary and honor all of her contributions to supporting nutrition research.



Price Increases Coming July 2024


Effective July 1, 2024, licensing and annual support fees will increase by 2% in order to keep pace, in part, with current inflationary increases in expenses. The new pricing for NDSR licensing is as follows:


NDSR License – Initial Copy: $6,600 (increase of $120)

NDSR License – Additional Copy: $4,285 (increase of $85)

Annual Support – Initial Copy: $4,400 (increase of $85)

Annual Support – Additional Copy: $700 (increase of $15)


Note that a reinstatement fee applies for returning clients who have not maintained annual support.


Contact the NCC User Support team for any additional questions.



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News Bite: Announcing the NEW NCC Forum, plus Fish Tacos

NCC News Bite | February 2024



This edition contains the following articles:

NEW- Website Pages to Orient You and Your Analyst to the Content of NDSR Output Files


We know that the wealth of data available in the many NDSR output files may appear daunting or confusing at first. Chapter 8 of the NDSR User Manual provides an overview of NDSR output and File Specifications. However, those who haven’t analyzed dietary data before may need more help in getting started. To meet this need, we have added a new section to our website to provide an orientation to the content of the NDSR output files.  In addition to providing an easy-to-understand description of the content of output files, helpful tips are included along with answers to many common questions about data in the output files. We hope you find this useful, and we welcome ideas for improving this new website content.



Coming in NDSR 2024: The Ability to Include Customized Data Fields at The Meal and Food Levels!


For many years NDSR clients have asked us for a feature that would allow for the inclusion of customized data fields at the meal- and food- levels so that aspects of the meal and food not captured by the standard NDSR prompts may be coded. Examples of meal-level information that clients have been interested in documenting include who served the meal to the child, whether the meal was from a certain fast food restaurant, eating companions present at the meal, and screen use during the meal. Examples of food-level information of interest to clients have included documenting food attributes (organic, packaging type), food source, and study-specific food groups.


How will this new feature work? In recalls, records, and record-assisted recall projects, you can use up to three customizable fields at the Meal level, which will appear on the Meal Information window, and up to ten customizable fields at the Food level, which will appear on a new tab within the Food Detail window.   You will be able to customize a descriptor for each field and import a list of response options that will then populate a dropdown menu.


This feature is still in the development and testing stages, so the final design may vary, but below is a screen shot of how a customizable field could appear at the meal level.



Registration for the National Nutrient Databank Conference is Now Open!


Registration is now open for the 43rd National Nutrient Databank Conference, which is being held in Ottawa, Canada on May 21-23, 2024.  The Early Bird registration discount ends on March 16th.   NCC Director Dr. Lisa Harnack, and Database Scientist Jenny Stevenson will be there representing NCC and would welcome the opportunity to talk with you while you are there.



NCC Celebrates 50 Years of Supporting Nutrition Research


It’s NCC’s 50th Anniversary! We are making plans to celebrate throughout the year and one of our goals is to better document our history.  We are seeking your stories about NCC and how NDSR has served you.  If you have something to share, please email



New Foods


The following new foods are available 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, “February 2024”.


  • Beyond Meat Plant Based Jerky
  • Bobo’s Oat Bar – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Fiber One Bar – Strawberry Cheesecake
  • La Banderita Carb Counter Low Carb Tortilla
  • Orgain 30g Protein Shake – Chocolate Fudge
  • Pediasure 1.5
  • Quest Cheddar Blast Cheese Crackers
  • Violife Vegan Cheese – Just Like Cheddar Slices


NCC News Bite | December 2023


This edition contains the following articles:

Free NARN Webinar: Tips for Quality Assurance and Data Management of 24-hr Recalls with NDSR


Julia Lorenzana Peasley, NCC Director of Operations, will be presenting the webinar “Tips for Quality Assurance and Data Management of 24-hr Recalls with NDSR” for the National Association for Research Nutrition (NARN) on Tuesday, January 16th at 2pm Central Time.  Typically NARN webinars are for members only, but they are opening this webinar up as a special one-time opportunity for non-members to attend for free.  Register now on the NARN website if you would like to attend.  Not a member of NARN? Visit the website to learn more.  They provide valuable resources, mentoring, and education to those working in nutrition research, and the annual membership fee is very affordable.


Per Your Request: Air Frying


Many of you who responded to the August Client Survey requested that we add air frying as a preparation method to our database.  In NDSR 2024, it will be included as a food preparation description along with baked or microwaved.  In the meantime, you can select ‘baked’ in NDSR 2023 and previous versions if a participant reports something that was air fried.


Tips for Using Food Search


Based on some feedback we received in the August Client Survey, we wanted to share some tips that we hope will help you locate foods in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database when using Food Search in NDSR:

  • Note that some foods from unique eating traditions may have different spellings, and searching on one spelling may not result in finding the food if we have it spelled differently in our database.  You could search the internet to look up alternate spellings for the food and try searching for the other spellings, or search on just part of the food name. For example, search for ‘Shaah’ if you are unsure whether Shaah bigays is one word or two.  We also recommend reviewing our Foods Unique to Various Eating Traditions document which highlights some of the foods in different categories.
  • For ingredient type foods, such as dry mixes or vanilla extract, try searching for the ingredient section of the hierarchy by typing ‘ingr’ into the search, and then look for your ingredient from there.
  • While you don’t need to memorize our hierarchy, understanding which food categories include brand name items and which don’t may help alleviate some frustration.  You can review this info in Appendix 5 of the NDSR Manual.  For example, we have many brand name cereals, but if you can’t find an exact brand name match, you can select from the generic options.  On the other hand, we do not have loaf sandwich bread in the database by brand name.  For sandwich bread, you will need to select from the generics—you will not find anything by searching “brownberry” or “wonder bread”. 
  • Several food categories now have a “store brand” option that may be a good match if we don’t have the specific brand you are looking for.


Why Aren’t the Foods I Submit as New Food Requests Included in the Next Version of NDSR?


Some of you have asked why the items you send in as new foods requests aren’t always part of the next version of NDSR.  This is primarily due to the process we use for updating and maintaining the NCC Food and Nutrient Database.  Our database scientists have methodic and organized ways of reviewing food categories and updating them based on the range of products currently available.  Most of our updates are done across a specific product line or food category, and we have found it is best for us to focus our limited resources in this systematic way instead of adding new food requests into our database in a more piecemeal way.  For example, while we understand why certain new food request are made, it may not make sense to include a brand name item into our database if that is a category of foods that is maintained as generics only. 


The back up file you receive with your new food resolutions can be restored into future versions of NDSR for your continued use, but we do recommend that if you restore it for use in a newer version that you run a nutrient totals report and compare that to the current nutrient information for the product, as the update process in NDSR could cause changes in the nutrient totals for the food.  In most cases the changes would be small, but in the case that they are more significant or pertain to a nutrient of high interest for your study, it is best to double check before starting to select them in a record.  


Please Review Your NDSR Quotes


When you are approaching the anniversary of your NDSR support date, you will receive an email from NCC with a price quote for the next year of support.  We would greatly appreciate it if you would review the quote and reply within two weeks if you need us to make a change to the number of copies of NDSR you would like supported, or if the invoice should be sent to someone else.  If you wait to notify us of those types of change until you receive the actual invoice, it creates a bit of a headache for several parties. Thank you.



NCC News Bite | October 2023


This edition contains the following articles:

HEI-2020 and HEI-Toddlers-2020


Now that the Healthy Eating Index-2020 (HEI-2020) is available, you may be interested in generating HEI 2020 scores for dietary intake data and/or menus in NDSR.  Fortunately, this is possible using existing NDSR output files because the HEI 2020 has the same index components and scoring criteria as the HEI 2015.  To elaborate, the working group tasked with updating the HEI to align with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans determined that no changes to the index were required aside from updating the name to ‘HEI 2020’.  Therefore, you can use the HEI 2015 output files from NDSR to generate the scores, as they will be equivalent to the HEI 2020 scores. 


The new Healthy Eating Index-Toddlers-2020 (HEI-Toddlers-2020) has the same index components as the HEI-2020 for children and adults 2 years of age and above, but the standards for calculating the HEI index component scores are different for the Toddler HEI. Therefore, you should not use the index component scores or total scores in the NDSR HEI 2015 output files.  However, you can use the contributing dietary constituents (e.g., ounce equivalents of whole grains, cup equivalents of dairy, etc.) found in the HEI output files to calculate component and total HEI-Toddlers-2020 scores.  Visit our website for more information on how to use NDSR to generate HEI scores.  


Have You Seen Negative Nutrient Values in Your Output Files?


Occasionally we receive questions about negative nutrient values in NDSR output files, so this article aims to share some information about where you may find negative nutrient values and why. 


If you look in output file 01 (component/ingredient file), it is not uncommon to see negative nutrient values for components such as water, sodium, or potassium.  This is to be expected, as we may subtract these components when making formulations for multi-ingredients foods in the database.  For example, when making a fast food hamburger to match the nutrient values provided by the restaurant, we may add or subtract sodium.  You may also see negative nutrient values in file 01 if you have entered a negative amount in the record, or if you have entered a User Recipe that includes a negative amount (i.e. subtraction of salt or water). 


Negative nutrient values in file 02 (food file) are less common, but possible.  They are most likely due to an error made in creating a user recipe or a negative amount entered in the record.  If you enter a User Recipe that has a net negative nutrient value into a record, then you will see that negative nutrient value in file 02.  You can correct this by correcting the user recipe and entering the corrected user recipe into the record in place of the old one.  If you enter a negative amount for a food in a record, you will see the corresponding nutrients as negatives in file 02.  This could be due to an error in data entry, or it could be intentional and may not need to be corrected.  For example, if your study is looking at daily nutrient totals, and you used a negative amount to subtract lettuce from an NDSR sandwich that includes lettuce, then your daily totals would be correct and you would not need to make any changes. Another possibility is that you used the View Ingredient feature and pasted the ingredients of a mixed dish into an assembled food.  If the formulation you pasted included a negative amount (that would typically only be seen in file 01), it will now be present in file 02 because it is part of the assembled food.  You will have to determine on a case by case basis if the negative value in the assembled food is correct, depending on the changes you made to the ingredients.  If you see negative nutrient values in file 02 that are not due to a user recipe with negative nutrient value or a negative amount entered into the food tab, feel free to contact us.  In extremely rare cases, a negative value in file 02 could occur when restoring a dietary intake record from an older version of NDSR.  Contact with questions.


NCC: Small But Mighty


Many of the largest technology companies created their first successful products with teams of fewer than 10 people. The same is true for the Nutrition Coordinating Center. We have a small but mighty staff that maintains and updates the NDSR software and NCC Food and Nutrient database. Our team consists of 4 database scientists, 1 programmer, and 2 specialists providing user support and training to NDSR clients. Most members of the team wear multiple hats and every individual plays an important role in accomplishing NCC’s mission. NCC’s work is led by a small leadership team, including a part-time Director, a part-time Associate Director, and a Director of Operations.


In addition, we have a group of part-time and hourly employees, including undergraduate and graduate students, that collects and processes dietary recalls and food records for researchers. 


Could NCC do better if we had more staff? Yes! We are proud of what we have accomplished as a small team, but with a larger database scientist team we could further expand foods and nutrients in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database and keep values more up-to-date with the marketplace. Also, having a single programmer responsible for maintaining and updating NDSR and the in-house software used for maintaining and expanding the NCC Database is precarious and limiting. On an ongoing basis we are working to be in a financial position that allows us to expand our team in these critical areas.


A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players – Steve Jobs  


Pictured Below: NCC Team Photo taken August 2023

Who Funds NCC?


Nutrition Coordinating Center activities are primarily supported through the licensing and annual support fees paid by those using NDSR. Licensing of NCC Food and Nutrient database files to the scientific community and app developers is another major source of funds.


In addition, NCC receives revenue for providing NDSR-related support services, including the collection of 24-hour dietary recalls over the telephone and entry of food records and menus into NDSR. This work is carried out to support researchers who wish to outsource this work to us.


Occasionally NCC receives a grant or contract to support the addition of a specific nutrient or food component to the NCC Food and Nutrition Database. For example, gluten was added to our database thanks to funding from the American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation through a partnership with Columbia University, and lignans was added thanks to NIH funding through a partnership with the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.


Publications directly related to the NCC Food and Nutrient Database are funded through internal University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center funds, unless otherwise stated in the publication acknowledgements.   


Thank You for Completing the Client Survey!


Many thanks to all of you who completed the client survey in August!  Your input helps us improve NDSR and the NCC Food and Nutrient Database.  In fact, in response to what we learned from the survey our database scientist team is already busy making related improvements to the database for NDSR 2024. For example, ‘air frying’ (a type of convection cooking) is being added to the ‘baked or microwaved’ food preparation option in NDSR in response to what we learned from the survey.


You don’t have to wait for the next survey to provide feedback or request changes or improvements.  Reach out to anytime with your suggestions.




NCC News Bite | August 2023


This edition contains the following articles:

NDSR 2023 is now available!


We want to make sure that everyone knows that NDSR 2023 is now available!  If your annual support for licensing our NDSR software 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 2023, as we have made program improvements and added new foods. One of the highlights is the expansion of plant-based milk alternative products in our database.  Users will also notice that we changed the Header Tab label from ‘Gender’ to ‘Sex’, as that better reflects the choice options of ‘Male’ and ‘Female’, which informs the Recommended Dietary Allowances/Adequate Intake Report that can be generated.


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 2023, email for pricing and other details on reinstating support. 


As a note for our clients who license the NCC database files, your eligibility for 2023 database files is based on your specific licensing agreement, and you can also reach out to with questions. 



Should I Upgrade to NDSR 2023 During a Study?


Upgrading to the latest version of NDSR is generally a good idea for ongoing studies.  This is especially true for long-term studies because the food and nutrient information in older versions of NDSR becomes less market-reflective with each passing year.  You can see Appendix 23 in the User Manual for a list of pros and cons to consider in regards to your particular study.  If you decide to upgrade to NDSR 2023, you may wonder if you should restore data collected in an older version to the current version of NDSR. 


Updating to the current version of NDSR and restoring your older data in the current version is generally recommended for the following two reasons: 


  1. When you restore data collected in an older version of NDSR you receive nutrient values for any new nutrient fields added in subsequent NDSR releases.  For example, in NDSR 2020 PUFA 18:2 n-6 (linoleic acid [LA]),PUFA 18:3 n-6 (gamma-linolenic acid [GLA]), and PUFA 20:4 n-6 (arachidonic acid [AA]) were added to the database.  Hence, if you restore data entered using an earlier version of NDSR these nutrient fields would now be available for your data.
  2. NCC continually updates the database to incorporate better and more complete analytic data that becomes available for foods.  Consequently, when you restore older data in the latest version of NDSR the accuracy of your data may in turn improve.


One hesitation clients express with restoring data created in previous versions of NDSR is that data integrity may be compromised due to product reformulations that occur and are reflected in updated versions of NDSR.  For example, if a food product has recently been reformulated to be lower in sodium one wants this updated sodium content information used for dietary recalls and food records collected subsequent to the reformulation but not prior to it (e.g. one would not want the lower sodium value for the product used for dietary recalls collected prior to the reformulation).  Fortunately, thanks to the time-related way in which the database is maintained, data collected in the past and restored in the current version of NDSR are recalculated based on food product formulations in the NDSR version used originally for data collection/entry. 


One consideration prior to restoring data into a current version of NDSR is that edits to dietary data can only be made in the version of NDSR in which the data was entered.  Once the data is restored into a current version of NDSR edits can no longer be made to data that was created on a previous version.  It is best practice to confirm that all edits are completed and the data set is finalized prior to restoring into a current version of NDSR. 


For further information and instructions on restoring data see Chapter 9 and Appendix 23 of the NDSR User Manual.  If you have further questions please contact User Support by emailing



Backup Files Are Gold!


Reminder: please remember to backup your NDSR projects to an additional storage medium outside of your local drive. Although NDSR protects data by saving record information to your hard drive or server as it is entered, NCC does not have access to that data and cannot retrieve your data in the event of a hard drive crash.  Therefore, it is very important to create a NDSR backup and data management plan. Frequent backup of projects to multiple locations (e.g., hard drive, network drive, flash drive, cloud storage, etc.) is recommended. Additionally, reports can be saved or printed immediately following data entry to protect against information loss. More information on backing up your data is available on the NCC website.



Reminder: Please Complete Our Client Survey


We are conducting a Client Survey and would love to hear from you.  If you haven’t already, please take our brief survey.  To those of you who have already responded, thank you very much!



NCC Creates Five Year Strategic Plan


Starting last fall NCC convened an expert advisory panel and used design thinking to develop a five-year strategic plan.  Through a series of one-on-one meetings with advisory panel members and group discussions, the NCC Director Lisa Harnack and Associate Director Abby Johnson developed several value propositions.  These were discussed with NCC staff members and a five-year plan was developed by the NCC Executive Committee.  We are excited to work on our initiatives to continue to serve our clients and work towards our mission of supporting nutrition research.


NCC News Bite | June 2023


This edition contains the following articles:

Coming Soon – NDSR 2023!


We are looking forward to releasing NDSR 2023 this summer! Release is currently scheduled for July 26th.  Clients who are current with their annual support for NDSR software licensing will receive an email with a link to download the new program, sent to the primary account holder. 


In addition to important behind-the-scenes changes to the NDSR software that keep the program functioning well, our database scientists have made many updates to our food and nutrient database that we think you will be excited about.  Some highlights include a major update and expansion of plant-based milk alternative products (more than 230 products from 23 different manufacturers); addition of more foods unique to Korean eating traditions; and updates to McDonald’s, Sonic, Jack-in-the-Box, and Long John Silver’s.  We also made a program change to update the Header field on intake records. The field ‘Gender’ was changed to ‘Sex’ in order to better describe the response options of ‘male’ and ‘female’ needed to inform the Recommend Dietary Allowances/Adequate Intake Report.  See more details about NDSR 2023 software and database updates in our What’s New in NDSR 2023 release letter. 


Not sure if you are up to date with your annual support?  Do you want to reinstate support to get NDSR 2023?  Email!



Publication: Adapting a US dietary analysis software and nutrient database for use in Brazil


We recently published a paper in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis about our work adapting NDSR for use in the entry and analysis of 24-hour dietary recalls collected to assess the food and nutrient intake of children in Brazil.  The article is available online for free access through the end of June.  We hope that it will help others develop procedures for adapting NDSR for use outside of the US.



NCC Presenting at ASN


Our Faculty Director Lisa Harnack, DrPH, RD, MPH and Associate Director Abigail Johnson, PhD, RD  will be presenting at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual flagship meeting held from July 22-25, 2023 in Boston, MA. 


Dr. Harnack will be presenting a poster titled “Proportions of packaged foods in various food categories in the US marketplace that met the proposed updated FDA criteria for “healthy” labeling” on July 23rd.  It will be part of the Policies and Regulations (Poster Session). Posters are on display 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Lisa will be standing by her poster from 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.


Dr. Johnson will be giving an oral presentation titled “Assessing calcium, vitamin D, and protein content of plant-based milk alternatives available in the U.S.” on July 24th at 8:00 a.m. during the.  “Formulating for the Future: Food Science Approaches to Improving Human Nutrition (Oral 16)” session. 


Also, findings from a dietary assessment methods study co-led by Lisa Harnack (“Pilot evaluation of whether an interviewer administered dietary recall method augmented with a photo-based mobile food record improves reporting of food intake”) will be presented orally by Samira Deshpande at the Methodological Approaches in Nutritional Epidemiology (Oral 9) session held July 23 from 2:00-3:30 p.m.


We enjoy the opportunity to talk with our clients, so if you will be attending the ASN conference and would like to meet with them, please email either Dr. Harnack or Dr. Johnson to arrange a time.



New Foods


The following new foods are available 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, “June 2023”.


  • Body Armor Lyte Sports Drink – Peach Mango
  • Bubba Original Turkey Burger
  • Go Macro Protein Bar – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • Ratio Keto Friendly Yogurt – Vanilla
  • Ripple Protein Shake – Chocolate
  • Siete Almond Flour Tortilla
  • Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kit – Caesar


NCC News Bite | April 2023


 This edition contains the following articles:


In Memory of Mary Austin


It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear colleague, Mary Austin, passed away on April 3, 2023.  She worked at the Nutrition Coordinating Center for over 33 years and was an integral part of our team, managing client data for NCC Research Services and keeping things running smoothly for our NDSR Trainings.  Mary also contributed to the larger University community through decades of union service and serving as President of AFSCME Local 3937: University of Minnesota Technical Employee Unit since 2015.  We are missing her, trying to adjust to her absence, and grateful for everything she contributed over the years. 



What method of measuring whole grains does NDSR use?


A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Du et al compared the use of several existing definitions of whole grains, and suggested that there is a need for a standard definition to help researchers, consumers, and food companies. An editorial corresponding to that article, written by Jacobs and Pereira, suggests that looking at the actual amount of whole grain in the food would be a valuable method for consistency. 


The article and accompanying editorial may have you wondering what measurement method NDSR uses. NDSR uses two methods, which means there are multiple measures of whole grains available in NDSR output files.  


One measure–‘Whole Grains (ounce equivalents)’ in output files 01-06–is based on the USDA Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) approach in which the amounts of both whole and refined grains in a food product are taken into account so that products containing a combination of these ingredients contribute to ounce equivalents of each type of grain. For example, a 1 ounce slice of multigrain bread containing equal parts of whole and refined grain ingredients would be counted as providing 0.5 whole grain ounce equivalents and 0.5 refined grain ounce equivalents.


The other method of measuring whole grains in NDSR, which is part of the NCC Food Group Serving Count System (output files 07-11), uses a classification system in which grain products are classified into three categories—‘whole grain’, ‘some whole grain’, and ‘refined grain’. The classification of a grain product into one of these categories is based on the types of grain ingredients and the position of these ingredients on the product label.  If a whole grain ingredient is the first ingredient on the food label, the food is categorized as a ‘whole grain’.  If a whole grain ingredient appears anywhere else on the label, the food is categorized as a ‘some whole grain’. If there are no whole grain ingredients in the product it is classified as ‘refined grain’.


More information about these whole grain classification methods and variables may be found in Appendix 10 of the NDSR User Manual (see pages A10.5-A10.13 and A10.34-A10.36).




Price Increases Coming July 2023


Effective July 1, 2023, licensing and annual support fees will increase by 2% in order to keep pace, in part, with current inflationary increases in expenses. The new pricing is as follows:


NDSR License – Initial Copy: $6,480 (increase of $130)

NDSR License – Additional Copy: $4,200 (increase of $80)

Annual Support – Initial Copy: $4,315 (increase of $85)

Annual Support – Additional Copy: $685 (increase of $15)


Note that a reinstatement fee applies for returning clients who have not maintained annual support.


Contact the NCC User Support team for any additional questions.         




NDSR Training available May 15-16


We have added another NDSR Training workshop to our schedule for the spring due to popular demand.  The training will be held via Zoom on Monday and Tuesday, May 15th and 16th from 9am-5pm Central Time.  Registration will close on Wednesday, May 3rd, so register soon if you wish to attend.  Registration is also open for training on June 12 & 13 and August 14 & 15.


NCC News Bite | March 2023

This edition contains the following articles:


Available for Licensing: Nutrients Per Common Portion Size File


If you are looking for an easy way to identify foods that are high or low in a nutrient or meet specific nutrition criteria, you may be interested in licensing the Nutrients Per Common Portion Size File available from NCC.  This Excel file provides the nutrient content per common portion for foods in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database. Using the file, foods may be rapidly sorted by nutrient content per common portion (e.g. sort foods from high to low for vitamin K content). The file includes food category information so that sorting may be carried out within a food category (e.g. sort ready-to-eat cereals by added sugars content).


Examples of ways this file might be useful include:

  • Identifying foods suitable for recommending to patients being counseled on a specific type of diet
  • Developing food recommendation lists for patient education materials
  • Identifying foods to include in feeding study menus to meet nutrient targets
  • Identifying foods that meet nutrient criteria established for public health interventions (e.g. foods that meet stocking criteria for food shelves or mobile markets).

To learn more or initiate the licensing process, email


Announcing: NCC Agreement with Viocare for ProNutra Users


NCC now has an agreement with Viocare so that ProNutra users can license the NCC Food and Nutrient Database as an add-on to the feeding study software.  This add-on requires a license agreement with, and subscription fee paid to, Viocare.  A portion of the annual subscription fee covers the fee Viocare pays to NCC for use of the NCC Database as a ProNutra add-on.  Funds NCC receives from Viocare support our ongoing work maintaining and expanding the NCC Food and Nutrient Database.  If you are a supported NDSR client (annual support payments are up to date) who is licensing ProNutra, you will be offered a reduced price for the subscription to the NCC Database.  Licensing this subscription is through Viocare, so please contact them with your questions.  Note that ProNutra with the subscription to the NCC Food and Nutrient Database does not include NDSR software. 




Food and Nutrient Database Updates Coming in NDSR 2023


We are excited to share that NDSR 2023 will include a plethora of food and nutrient database updates. Here we highlight some of the updates.


Plant-based milk alternatives updated and expanded

As you have likely noticed, the number and variety of plant-based milk alternatives in the marketplace have exploded in recent years. Consequently, we prioritized updating this food category. As part of the update, we are expanding the types of plant-based milk alternatives included in the database to include products that contain soy, oat, almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hazelnut, hemp, pistachio, rice, walnut, and plant blends. We are also adding brands because we found that the nutrient content varies greatly across brands. Most notably, there are differences in fortification practices with regard to calcium and vitamin D (some products are fortified with both, some with just one, and some with neither).  


When our work updating plant-based milk alternatives is complete, we anticipate having more than 200 products produced by 23 manufacturers included in NDSR 2023.


More Korean foods added

As part of our ongoing initiative to include foods unique to an array of eating traditions, we are expanding Korean foods in the database. Foods being added include the following:

  • Kimchi pancakes
  • Tteok or mochi (Korean or Japanese rice cake)
  • Korean gochujang vinaigrette
  • Korean style dressing
  • Bibimbap (Korean rice with meat and vegetables)
  • Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef)
  • Dukboki or Tteokbokki (Korean rice cake with meat and vegetables)
  • Samgyeopsal (Korean grilled pork belly)
  • Gochujang sauce (Korean chili paste)
  • Injeolmi (Korean sweet rice cake)
  • Kimchi soup

As a reminder–keep your NDSR support current so that you are eligible to receive the NDSR 2023 version when it is released! Even if you are mid-study, we generally recommend upgrading to the latest version of NDSR because new versions have database improvements such as those described in this article. 


If you licensed the NCC Food and Nutrient Database files and pay to receive updated data files annually, you will receive the updates described above in the 2023 data files. If you do not pay to receive updated data files but would like to, contact  


Stay tuned for more information on NDSR 2023 in coming months. 




Upcoming NDSR Training Dates


NCC offers two-day NDSR training workshops via zoom several times throughout the year.  Attendees learn how to navigate the software, search the database, and conduct a 24-hour dietary recall.   The next two workshops will be held April 24-25 and June 12-13.  Register online at least two weeks prior to the workshop to reserve a space.  Registration may close early if spaces are filled.         


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.

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