For many foods there are a variety of ways in which the item may be prepared in terms of ingredient choices and method of preparation. For example, a burrito may be prepared with or without ingredients such as meat, cheese, and beans. Furthermore, for many ingredients, a variety of types could be used (e.g., type of cheese might be cheddar, Monterey, American, etc.). Different methods of preparation may also be used in cooking a food item (e.g., baking or frying).
The NCC database is designed so that it is possible to build foods based on these ingredient choices and preparation methods, thereby allowing for the creation of foods that closely match that for which nutrient composition information is needed. This process of building foods occurs within NDSR.
The process is made possible by ‘tables’ in the database that include algorithms for estimating the nutrient composition of foods ‘built on the fly’ within NDSR.