USDA National Nutrient Database
by Maria Del Mar Mejias on November 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM EST

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) brings us one of the most accurate nutrient information sources available to the public for standard reference, The USDA National Nutrient Database. This tool provides access to food composition such as calories, carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals of over 8,000 foods to choose from. The database helps you customize your search by dividing the foods into groups and lists, further facilitating your search for the specific food entered. For example, if you wish to know the nutrient composition of olive oil, you enter olive oil in the search bar, later click on the food group “Fats and Oils,” which lists only fats in the list, and you’ll be able to find your searched item in a matter of seconds.

When you finally find what you’re looking for, in this case olive oil because that’s the example I’m using, you click it. In doing so, you’ll see how the database categorizes the serving per amount, which varies for every food. Here in this particular example you’ll see how it’s divided between 100 grams, tablespoon, cups, and teaspoons, later to scroll down and see every component of that specific food.

It’s really important to learn how to use this tool, because when in doubt, who better to ask than the experts. When preparing a meal, you can calculate all the nutrition facts using this website, giving you a clear idea of what exactly you’re consuming when making a meal.

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