Looking for the nutrient content of a particular food? Try the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, release 22. It “contains data on 7,538 food items for up to 143 components.” The mission of the data laboratory which compiles the information is “[t]o develop authoritative food composition databases and state of the art methods to acquire, evaluate, compile and disseminate composition data on foods and dietary supplements available in the United States."
This database is an easy to use tool. Just enter in a few terms (e.g. Taco Bell Burrito), select the proper item, and the correct serving size, to create a clear report. The summary includes data on the vitamins, minerals, lipids, etc. The researcher can also put in a single term (e.g. apples) and review all the variations available to best locate the item of interest. Using the “apples” example, several options are listed. A small sampling include: 1. apples, raw, with skin, 2. apples, raw, without skin, 3. apples, without skin, cooked, microwave and 4. apples, canned, sweetened, drained, heated. Below is an example of the report.