All posts by BhasJ NCC Staff

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


What’s New in NDSR 2023

2023 NCC Food and Nutrient Database Updates


Plant-based milk alternative products (PBMAs) updated. The following varieties of PBMAs are included in NDSR 2023: almond, cashew, coconut, flax seed, hazelnut, hemp, oat, pistachio, plant-based, rice, soy, and walnut.  They are in the MILK hierarchy as milk substitutes (non-dairy/imitation).  In addition to updating the generic varieties, we added a brand name listing of over 230 brand name milk substitutes.  The following product lines are represented: Almond Breeze, Better Than Milk, Califia Farms, Chobani, Dream products, Earth’s Own, EdenSoy, Elmhurst, Good Karma, MALK, Oatly!, Orgain, Pacific Foods, Planet Oat, Ripple, Silk, So Delicious, Tempt, Three Trees, Vita Coco, WestSoy, and Store Brand (e.g. Great Value, Simple Truth).  All of the milk substitutes (non-dairy/imitation), including brands, are available as variable ingredient options for foods that may be prepared with milk. 


Updates to coconut milk were also carried out and the culinary (canned, typically used in cooking) option is now separate from the ready-to-drink options.  These foods are included as variable ingredient options for foods prepared with milk as well.  While we do not offer brands for culinary coconut milks, many ready-to-drink brands are included in the brand name listing for milk substitutes (non-dairy/imitation). 


NCC continued to add new foods including foods unique to various eating traditions with a focus on Korean foods. A list is available that includes most foods unique to various eating traditions available in NDSR 2023.


A few of the many new foods added include:


Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)

Bibimbap (Korean rice with meat and vegetables)

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef)

Cauliflower pizza crust

Dragon fruit

Drunken noodles

Falafel sandwich

Ginger tea

Korean Gochujang vinaigrette

Masala dosa (Indian pancake with potato filling)

Poke bowl (raw tuna and rice bowl)


Pork belly

Shave ice

Store brand (e.g. Great Value) ready-to-eat cereals


Fast food restaurants updated: Jack-in-the-Box, Long John Silver’s, McDonald’s, and Sonic.  Note:  Boston Market was removed from the database because a relatively small number of restaurants remain and there are foods in NDSR that are the same or similar to menu items available at Boston Market.


Commercial entrée product lines updated: Amy’s, Banquet, Dinty Moore, Healthy Choice, Hormel, and Nestle’s Croissant and Hot Pockets.


Other brand name categories updated include energy drinks and nutrient-enhanced vitamin waters; Girl Scout cookies; mayonnaise; miscellaneous dessert snacks; ready-to-eat cereals for Arrowhead Mills, Bear Naked, Malt-O-Meal, and Mom’s Best Cereals; salad dressings prepared from dry mixes; shortening; Similac infant formulas; snack foods including corn nuts, fried pork rinds, onion flavored rings, Gardetto’s snack mixes, and Jolly Time and Pop-Secret popcorn; and whipped toppings. 


Updates to non-brand food categories include bacon bits; bottled waters; coffee creamers; and peanut butter.  Additionally, gluten free, keto, and sugar free options were added to chocolate, white, and yellow cake mixes.


Updated foods to align with the now fully implemented ban on use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods in the U.S. marketplace.  This involved updating over 600 foods from categories such as cookies, crackers, fats, and snacks.


Updates from FNDDS 2019-2020 categories of eggs; dry beans, peas, other legumes, nuts, and seeds; fats, oils, and salad dressings; and fruits were integrated.


Updates from USDA’s Food Data Central Foundation Foods for almond, oat, and soy milks, and peanut butter were integrated.


NDSR 2023 Program Updates


Header field for Gender changed to Sex.  This change was made to better describe the response options of ‘male’ and ‘female’ needed to inform the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), which are defined by sex assigned at birth and age.  The ‘Sex’ field does not require a response unless selected as required in the Method Preferences.  We have also changed the third response option from ‘Unspecified’ to ‘Other/Prefer Not to Answer’.  These changes are reflected in all reports and output file headers.


User Manual download now defaults to the Bookmark view for easier navigation to chapters and appendices.


A couple major behind-the-scenes updates were made, including updating to the latest version of the programming language NDSR relies on.  We have carried out rigorous testing of these updates, but please reach out to NCC at if you run into any unexpected issues.

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 | January 2023


This edition contains the following articles:

Using NDSR to Assess Ultra-Processed Food Intake

We have heard from some of you that you are interested in identifying ultra-processed foods in your dietary data so that you can assess level of intake of foods considered ultra-processed according to the NOVA classification system.  While NDSR does not classify foods into NOVA classified categories, researchers could carry out this type of classification of foods entered into NDSR dietary recalls, records, or menus.  One way to do this with your NDSR output data files would be to identify the unique food IDs in output file 02, and then assign a classification level to each food based on resources such as the NCC Database Food Group ID and ingredient statements for restaurant and packaged foods.  If you are interested in more details on this potential approach for classifying foods in your NDSR dietary data, see the corresponding FAQ on the NCC website.



Resource for Knowing the Foods Unique to Specific Eating Traditions Included In NDSR

Researchers often ask us if we have foods commonly consumed by various groups of people when they are making their dietary assessment plan, and we have a new resource to help answer that question.  We recently added a list of “Foods Unique to Various Eating Traditions included in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database” to our website.
While this list is not all-encompassing, we did our best to categorize foods into some broad categories, such as Latin American and Caribbean foods, Alaska Native foods, and Eastern and Southeastern Asian foods, so you could look through and see what foods in that category we have in the database.  Note that the foods in our database are as they are prepared and consumed in the US and may vary from how they are prepared in other countries.  If you aren’t finding the foods you are looking for on this list, you can also search NDSR for specific foods, or search the foods2022.txt file located on your C Drive (if you have NDSR installed).
Are you finding some other foods coming up frequently in your research that aren’t in NDSR?  Please send your suggestions to anytime and our Database Scientists will consider these requests for inclusion in a future version of NDSR.



New! FAQs page on our NCC Website

Several of you responded to our most recent Client Survey with the request that we make it easier to find the FAQs on our website.  In response, we’ve tried to do just that!  Check out the new FAQs tab at the top of the NCC website.  That tab will take you to a central Frequently Asked Questions page where you can find all of our FAQs in one place.


NCC Welcomes New Staff Member: Katelin Raimondi

NCC recently hired a new member to our team!  Katelin Raimondi is a Registered Dietitian and has a Master’s of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition.  She has a variety of research and training experiences that will serve her as she learns about NDSR and supports our Research Services and User Support teams.  She will also become one of our NDSR Trainers.


FAQ Highlight: FODMAPS


Some of you have asked if NDSR can be used to estimate intake of FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols).  Below is the answer from our FAQ page.  Please contact if you have further questions.
NDSR output files include intake estimates for monosaccharides (fructose, galactose, glucose, tagatose), disaccharides (lactose, maltose, sucrose) and a variety of polyols (erythritol, inositol, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, pinitol, sorbitol, xylitol).  Intake estimates for oligosaccharides are not available. Thus, intake of all types of FODMAPs except oligosaccharides may be estimated using data available in the output files.



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, “January 2023”.
Beyond Meat Original Brat

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

Sara Lee Delightful Healthy Multi-Grain Bread

Skinny Pop Popcorn – Aged White Cheddar

Kirkland Cauliflower Crust Pizza – Supreme

Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Cheese – Smoked Gouda

Van’s Protein Waffles – Blueberry

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce – No Sugar Added


Can you use NDSR data to assess intake of ultra-processed foods?

NDSR does not classify foods into the four NOVA categories. However, a researcher may carry out this classification for foods entered into NDSR dietary recall, record, and menu record types. There are multiple ways this may be done. Sneed et al. report on one approach using their NDSR data (1). These authors assess inter-rater reliability and note that their data files are available to researchers on request. Below we describe another potential approach.
Potential approach for classifying foods in NDSR dietary recall, record and menu record types into the four NOVA categories.
1) For your set of dietary recalls/records/menus identify all unique food IDs in output file 02 (file that lists foods at the whole food level).
2) Sort the list of unique food IDs by the NCC Database Food Group ID* to facilitate coding.
3) Review the unique food IDs in your dataset, and then develop coding rules that will allow for classifying each food ID into one of the four NOVA categories.
Some of the coding rules you develop may leverage the NCC Database Food Group ID. For example, you may decide to specify in your coding rules that all foods with an NCC Database Food Group ID of 63 (‘Fruits, fresh and unsweetened’) be coded into the NOVA class 1 (‘Unprocessed or minimally processed’) category.
For some types of restaurant and packaged foods you may decide to develop coding rules that require going to the food company website to locate the food’s ingredient statement so that a classification determination may be made. Note that ingredient information is generally not available in output file 01 (component ingredient file) for packaged foods. Ingredient information is generally available for restaurant foods, but it should not be relied on for determining classification because NCC formulations for both packaged and restaurant foods include only those food ingredients that contribute to the nutrient content of the food. As a result, ingredients included in small amounts that do not contribute to nutrient content, such as most food flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, and preservatives, are generally not included in the formulation.
For some types of restaurant and packaged foods you may develop general rules that do not require locating the product ingredient statement. For example, you may establish a rule that all soft drinks be coded into NOVA class 4 because these products are generally formulated in a way that involves including one or more ingredients that conform with class 4 criteria.
For multi-ingredient home prepared foods (e.g. home-made lasagna, pizza, cookies, etc.) the ingredients used in preparing the food are available in output file 01 (component ingredient file), and may be used to guide food coding decisions for these types of foods.
4) After NOVA classification codes have been assigned to all unique food IDs in file 02, statistical analysis code may be written to assign NOVA classification codes to all foods in all records in file 02. Then, code may be written to create processed food variables of interest for your study (e.g. times per day ultra-processed foods were consumed; percent of total calories from ultra-processed foods, etc.).
* The NCC Database Food Group ID’s, categories, and names are provided in the NDSR file ‘Nccdbfg[insert version].txt in the ‘Database Documentation Files’ folder within the ‘Additional Files’ folder. For Windows installations, the Additional Files are located at C:\Users\Public\Documents\NCC\NDSR [insert version]\Additional Files\Database Documentation.
1. Sneed NM, Ukwuani S, Sommer E, Samuels L, Truesdale K, Matheson D, Noerper T, Barkin S, Heerman W. Reliability and Validity of Assigning Ultra-Processed Food Categories to 24-Hour Dietary Recall Data Collected Using the Nutrition Data System for Research (NDS-R). Current Developments in Nutrition 2022;6:778.

There are two added sugar variables in the NDSR output files- Added Sugars (by Available Carbohydrate) and Added Sugars (by Total Sugars). What is the difference between the two?

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 (Total Sugars) value assigned by NCC to foods considered to be a sources of added sugars represents the amount of total sugars present in the food, which includes only mono- and disaccharides.

The nutrient values for brand name food products in the database don’t precisely match the values on the product’s Nutrition Facts panel. Why?

Nutrient values in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database for brand name foods do not precisely match the information on product Nutrition Facts panels for a number of reasons. One reason is that values in the database are not rounded to the nearest whole number as is allowed on the Nutrition Facts panel. Another reason is the database values may not reflect recent changes in the marketplace. For example, if General Mills reformulates Cheerios® today, the nutrient values in the current database may no longer match those on the product label. Discrepancies between database and Nutrition Facts panel values may be due to use of the nutrient composition of representative foods for some brand name product categories for which the nutrient composition across brands is similar.
As an example, although the database includes several brands of pretzel twists, the nutrient values assigned to each are based on a representative pretzel twist. It is important to note that use of a representative food is only done when variation in nutrient content across brands of a product is minimal.