G uidelines

Where we get our information from

All the information on & is based on current scientific research.

At CheckYourFood Ltd we keep abreast of all the latest nutritional science and update the sites accordingly.

We give a synopsis of the available science on nutrients; this information is widely available on the internet and in various publications.

We then provide links to the more detailed science in regard to nutrients as we do not duplicate the content provided by various scientific research sites.

Where specific science from studies is represented in its original form, CheckYourFood Ltd has expressly applied for a licence to re-produce such material on our site. & also provide the amounts of various nutrients available in foods, this information is obtained from the UK Institute of Food research (IFR), now known as the Quadram Institute & the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). Users will be able to select their preferred data source. Phytochemical and essential amino acid data is sourced from the USDA . & also provide dietary recommended intake information (RDA's) for nutrients; this information is reprinted with permission from the National Academy of Sciences, courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

R ules we have applied

Food composition data

1. We use the nutrient composition data for natural, pre-prepared and processed ingredients.

2. In general we do not use the data for fortified foods, as from the information we have, we are unclear about the benefits/dangers of adding synthetic vitamins and 'free' minerals in high amounts to food. These fortifications are separate from the natural food matrix and lack the synergy and buffering gained from the natural balance of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients in food.

3. We have included white and brown bread and flour with a link to the bread and flour regulations in relation to flour fortification. We have also included some other fortified ingredients to provide the 'added sugar' information, this is highlighted on the ingredient page.

4. We have used the latest food composition data from both the McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods 7th edition (2014 Cofids), provided by the UK Institute of Food Research, and the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) food composition data tables SR28. We will be updating our composition data with any subsequent releases of the McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods and any updates to the USDA composition data.

5. We have used the USDA's data for choline, phytochemicals and essential amino acids and the UK's data for iodine and biotin in both datasets.

6. We have used the USDA calculation for Vitamin A equivalents (alpha and beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin that we convert to vitamin A) of: beta carotene divided by 12 and alpha carotene and beta cryptoxanthin by 24 (as opposed to beta carotene being divided by 6 and the other carotenes divided by 12). We also use the USDA conversion from International Units (IU) to micrograms (mcg) of dividing the IU by 20 to arrive at the mcg amount. This is also to reflect more accurately the bio availability of retinol activity equivalents (RAE's).

7. We have only included specific data for the omega fatty acids, that is where the data has specifically isolated omega 3 ALA/EPA/DHA and omega 6 (N6) linoleic. Whilst there is data for undifferentiated omega 3 and 6, the health benefit research we have used is focused on the differentiated forms of the omegas.

8. For vitamin K2 MK7/9 composition data we have used the findings of the 'Quantitative measurement of vitamin K2 (menaquinones) in various fermented dairy products using a reliable high-performance liquid chromatography method. See

9. All the composition data is for the edible portion of the food unless the ingredient states for some meat ingredients as ‘bone in’. If a meat is generally always sold with bone in, such as shoulder of lamb we have left its display name as ‘lamb shoulder’ and included data for ‘lamb shoulder – boneless’ as well. For fish all data is for the fillet unless otherwise stated and the tinned fish that include bones have been highlighted where possible.

10. Where we only have nutrient data for boneless meat, for example - niacin (B3) in the edible portion of a chicken drumstick, we have multiplied the niacin (B3) figure by the percentage of meat on an average chicken drumstick (0.65) and used this for a figure for our chicken drumstick with bone in.

11. We have included the allergen information on the 14 allergens for filtering, provided by the UK Food Standards Agency (several ingredients are now required to be referenced as allergens on all food labeling). We have also included a lactose notification, lactose intolerance is not an allergy but there are many people who are affected by it.

12. We have calculated the glycemic load figures using the standard calculation of multiplying the amount of carbohydrate in an ingredient by the Glycemic index figure for that ingredient and divided by 100. The Glycemic index figures have come from a comparison of figures from the Montignac method,, the EU Diogenes project and the American Diabetes Association. We have taken into consideration the increase in GL that occurs with the over night soaking and boiling of dried pulses and the reduction in GL when cooking pasta al dente. We have also taken into consideration the increase in GL that comes from baking sweet potato as the nature of the starch is changed. Due to the complexity of the GI calculations these figures are a guideline only.

NB: From our research we note that changes in ingredient composition data between publications are largely within a range of 10 to 20%, which when applied to the RDA's often results in marginal differences. Some ingredients are almost identical in their composition between the UK IFR and the USDA data.

The recommended amounts of nutrients

1. RDAs and NRVs have been set above estimated average requirements (EARs) with the aim of providing levels that reduce the risk of chronic disease and abnormal development rather than just avoiding deficiency.

2. We are currently using the RDA's (recommended dietary/daily allowances) and AIs (adequate intakes) where an RDA has not been arrived at, from the DRIs (dietary reference intakes) provided by the National Academy of Sciences. RDA's take into consideration the differing requirements of age and gender. Users can also adjust their RDA's, if for example they want more vitamin C than the official RDA they can increase this in their account settings.

3. We are now looking at the NRVs (nutrient reference values) established by the EU very recently and will be consulting with experts with a view to their integration into

4. For essential amino acids we have taken the RDA per KG of weight and assumed an average weight for say an adult 31year old male. See below for a table of weights used for gender and ages. For the overall protein RDA we have used the National Academies average male weight of 70kg and female weight of 57.5kg (0.8g per kg of body weight).

5. We have taken the RDA for omega 3 EPA/DHA from recommendations by the World health Organisation.

6. We have applied CYF recommended daily amounts to flavonoids, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, phytosterols, isoflavones, quercetin, myricetin and resveratrol. These are based on research that is referred to on these nutrient home pages.

7. For the sunshine ingredient we have calculated the likely amount of vitamin D that 10 - 60 minutes of sunshine will give a person depending on their skin colour, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm in spring, summer and autumn in the northern hemisphere. This is based on the recommendation by Dr Michael Holick that this will be enough to meet the RDA for a whole year of 5,475 mcg, as vitamin D is stored in the liver.

Professional RDA's

The 8 professional RDA's within enable professionals to provide nutritious food that will be as close as possible to meeting the needs of all their clients.

Whilst individual RDA's differ across age and gender, for professional purposes we have taken an average over an adult gender and age range.

This is similar to the methods deployed by the EU to set the nutrient reference values for food labeling.

We have also provided checkyourfood (CYF) starting guidelines for phytochemicals such as lycopene, these are based on our research to date and may be subject to change as new research continues into the healthy dietary amounts of these nutrients. Members can adjust their target amounts.

1. For the professional adults RDA we have averaged the amounts of nutrients required by men and women between the ages of 19 and 70 years old. For essential amino acids we have taken the amounts for a 70kg adult. This differs from the NRVs or RIs as these include an average for pregnant and breastfeeding women. CYF provides specific RDA's for pregnant and breastfeeding women as their requirements are very different from an average adult.

2. For the professional older adults RDA we have averaged the amounts of nutrients required by men and women over the age of 71. For essential amino acids we have taken the amounts for a 70kg adult.

3. For the professional pregnancy RDA we have taken the RDA's for pregnant women between the ages of 19 - 50 and assumed an average body weight of 70kg for the essential amino acids RDA's.

4. For the professional breastfeeding RDA we have taken the RDA's for breastfeeding women between the ages of 19 - 50 and assumed an average body weight of 65kg for the essential amino acids RDA's.

5. For the professional nursery RDA we have taken the RDA's for children between the ages of 1 – 3 and assumed an average body weight of 13kg for the essential amino acids RDA's.

6. For the professional primary school RDA we have split this RDA between primary 1 and primary 2.

Primary 1 is the RDA's for children between the ages of 4 – 8 and we have assumed an average body weight of 25kg for the essential amino acids RDA's.

7. Primary 2 is an average of the RDA's for boys and girls between the ages of 8 – 13 and we have used the essential amino acid RDA's for boys for both sexes and assumed an average body weight of 45kg.

8. For the professional secondary school RDA we have taken average of the RDA's for boys and girls between the ages of 10 – 18 and we have used the essential amino acid RDA's for boys for both sexes and assumed an average body weight of 55kg.

The cooking retention calculations

1. We have only used the raw composition data for ingredients and the nutrient retention factors for various cooking methods are then be applied as ingredients will typically be weighed when raw rather than when cooked.

2. We have used the nutrient retention factors (losses of nutrients during cooking) provided by both the USDA and the McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods 7th edition.

3. We have used the iodine cooking retention factor data provided by the Indian government.

4. Within a recipe we may have applied up to 3 ‘cooking methods’ and therefore 3 sets of retention factors to some of the ingredients. For example the loss from sautéing mince followed by simmering the mince is accounted for by applying 2 sets of retention factors. This is erring on the side of caution in that you will not get less of a nutrient than we state and you may get more.

5. We have applied a cooking retention factor to the omega 3 in fish that takes into account the heaviest likely loss during certain cooking methods.

6. We have applied the phytochemical retention factors provided by

7. We have imputed cooking retention factors for manganese and selenium, as these are not provided, by taking the lowest retention figure from the other minerals and assuming that amount of loss for these two minerals during cooking.

8. With amino acids we have imputed cooking retention factors for the methods - boiled covered and drained, boiled with little water and drained, boiled (time in minutes) drained, fried, grilled and roasted/baked wo/drippings. To reflect the fact that whilst amino acids are preserved during cooking they can leech out into cooking liquor and drippings.

9. We have generally used the ‘lean and fat’ data for meats and given retention factors for the cooking methods ‘with and without drippings’ to give people the choice.

10. For meats with a high fat content we have weighed the fat released on roasted/baked wo/drippings and calculated the fat/calorie loss when this cooking method is used.

11. Where we have a recipe that calls for a weight of an ingredient that includes a large inedible portion (such as clam shells), we have calculated the nutrient content of the recipe based on the weight of the edible portion.

12. Glycemic index and load values increase with different cooking methods when applied to certain ingredients such as sweet potatoes. The GL for sweet potato doubles on baking (as the GI increases) as much of the starch has converted to sugar, and goes up by a factor of 1.6 when fried, we have reflected this in the retention factors applied for baking/frying a sweet potato by multiplying the available carbohydrate by the higher GI. We have applied the same principle to potatoes and pasta.

12. For pasta, rice and potatoes we have applied a retention factor for carbohydrate & the associated calories as starch is lost into the cooking water when boiling and draining.

ew nutrient classification

1. We have classified coenzyme Q10 as a vitamin for the purposes of displaying it in the science section on vitamins. Despite our bodies ability to synthesise coenzyme Q10, its activity in the body is very much like a vitamin and it is often described as a vitamin.

2. We have classified choline as a vitamin for the purposes of displaying it on the vitamin heat map and in the science section on vitamins. Choline is not strictly considered to be a vitamin but is considered vital and is often grouped with the B vitamins.
ngredient rankings

1. For the ingredient results tab we have accounted for cooking losses, so for example when selecting ingredient results for the top 100 ingredients high in vitamin C, we have applied a cooking loss to the vitamin C in potato as potatoes are always cooked.

This result will display lower down in the top 100 than if we ordered the results by the amount of vitamin C in a raw potato.

2. For the ingredient results tab we have also applied a likely portion size to the ingredient, so for example when selecting the top 100 ingredients high in iron, without a likely portion size, dried thyme would come up first. However with a likely portion size of less than 1g, this ingredient comes much lower down the list of ingredient results.

Cockles or curry paste come much higher up the top 100 list for iron as the likely portion sizes for these ingredients are much larger than for dried thyme.

DAs for essential amino acids

Weights in kilograms used for the RDA’s for amino acids

We have used average weights to fix the RDA's for amino acids as these are given in milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

If you are lighter or heavier than these averages for now you will need to adjust your RDA accordingly, for example if you are heavier than the average by 20% you need to increase your RDA by 20% in your account settings.

You may find these RDA's easy to meet however we have included the data for use by athletes, body builders, people on low protein diets, people fighting infection or depression along with information for people with PKU (phenylketonuria).

Male 0-6 months - 6kg

Female 0-6 months - 6kg

Male 6-12 months - 9kg

Female 6-12 months - 9kg

Male 1-3 years - 13kg

Female 1-3 years - 13kg

Male 4-8 years - 25kg

Female 4-8 years - 25kg

Male 9-13 years - 45kg

Female 9-13 years - 45kg

Male 14-18 years - 66kg

Female 14-18 years - 57kg

Pregnancy 14-18 years - 57kg

Lactation 14-18 years - 57kg

Male 19-30 years - 75kg

Female 19-30 years - 65kg

Pregnancy 19-30 years - 70kg

Lactation 19-30 years - 65kg

Male 31-50 years - 75kg

Female 31-50 years - 65kg

Pregnancy 31-50 years - 70kg

Lactation 31-50 years - 65kg

Male 51-70 years - 75kg

Female 51-70 years - 65kg

Male 71+ years - 75kg

Female 71+ years - 65kg

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