Getting started with your search: This web site allows simple searches of the USDA Food Composition Databases which includes the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) and the USDA Branded Food Products database. Also included in the SR are data from the USDA Database for the Isoflavone Content of Selected Foods, Release 2.0 (2008), the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Release 3.1 (2013), and the USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods (2004). Enter one or more keywords in the indicated box and click on “GO” or press the Enter key on your keyboard. This will perform a search for the specified keywords in the food descriptions field. Alternatively, when the user enters a few letters in the search box the program will use auto-suggest to assist by producing a pull down menu, identifying items from the database. You can scroll down and click on the specific item you want. You may also enter the NDB No. of the food item which will take you directly to the designated item.
Specify Manufacturer and/or Data Source and/or Food Group: You may refine your search by limiting results to a particular manufacturer selected from the list under the "Select Manufacturer" heading or to a particular database under the 'Select Source' heading. And, if you are searching only the SR database, you may filter on a selected Food Group.
Reports: After selecting the food items, the nutrient values will be displayed. If you are viewing a food from the SR database, there are two options for displaying the nutrient values. A “Basic Report” containing a limited set of nutrients, based upon those found on a nutrition facts panel of a package of food, or frequently requested, and a “Full Report” containing all the nutrients found in SR for that food. In addition, the Full Report also contains calorie and nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors, scientific name, refuse, and LanguaL codes (if available) for each item. When information is available on the source of the nutrient data values a numeric superscript appears after the name of the nutrient, and the citation for that source is given at the bottom of the report.
Modifying household measures: Household measures can be modified by changing the value in the unit box over each measure description. For example, if the measure is “1 cup, shredded” and you want to know the nutrients in ½ of a cup, enter either 1/2 or 0.5 in the unit box in place of the “1” already there. Then press the “Apply Changes” button and the nutrient content for the modified household measure will be calculated and displayed.
The quantity in the 100-gram column can also be changed. Take the gram weight of your food and divide by 100 and enter that value in the box in the 100 gram column and click on the “Apply Changes” button and the nutrient content for your weight will be calculated and displayed. For example, if your food item weighs 78 grams, enter 0.78 in the box in the 100 gram column, click on “Apply Changes” and the nutrient content of 78 grams of your food item will be displayed.
Statistics report (SR Database only): Another report, labeled “Statistics” displays all the statistical parameters available in SR. In addition to the value, number of data points, and standard error which are displayed on the Full Report, the Statistics Report displays the minimum and maximum values, degrees of freedom (df), lower and upper error bounds (labeled LB and UB on the report), number of studies, text describing the source of the data, the NDB reference number (used to indicate the reference food for calculated values), and the date the value or related information was either added to the databases or last modified. For more information on these parameters, see the documentation which accompanies the database. A dash indicates that a particular statistical parameter is not available for that component.
Printing and Saving Reports: To print your report, select “Download as PDF” and then print from the PDF. If you select “Print” from the toolbar, you will have to print each page separately, one at a time. You can also save the PDF file on your computer for future use. You can also download the report as a CSV (Comma separated values) file. The CSV file can then be opened, using a spreadsheet program.
New Search: When you have completed looking at the nutrients in one food, you can return to the results of the search you just performed by clicking on the box “Return to Search Results”. If you want to perform a completely new search, click on the “Food Search” menu or the "Try a New Search" link which appears beneath the search input box.
Ground Beef Calculator: This program allows you to view nutrient information tailored to any fat or lean percentage within certain ranges, either for raw meat or meat cooked in a particular way. The user may find slight differences in the nutrient values generated by the ground beef calculator and those presented in SR for the same product. These differences are due to rounding, resulting from differences in the number of decimal places used by each system, and the complexity of the equations.