oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Characteristics of the South African Food Composition Database, an essential tool for the nutrition fraternity in the country : part I : invited review

Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



Information on the nutrient composition of food forms the foundation for determining the diet-health-disease-relationships in a country. The nutrient composition of foods is influenced by many factors such as climate, soil, cultivar / breed, the grade of ripeness at harvest and the storage of food. Therefore, it is especially important to have a country-specific food composition database that caters for the dietary habits of all the country's people. Different methodologies are used for generating information on the nutrient composition of foods, e.g. chemical analyses, calculations, imputations, information from other food composition databases and the scientific literature. Knowledge of the characteristics and limitations of food composition data is a prerequisite for the responsible use and application of the information on the nutrient composition of foods. A food composition database is an essential tool used by the nutrition fraternity in an effort to improve the dietary habits, and thus the health, of the population.

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