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Free Online Nutrition Analysis

By Emma Cale

Doing a nutrition analysis online of the foods you have been eating can be daunting. The sheer number of websites devoted to nutritional information can result in overload--not to mention the challenge of finding unbiased information. Some commercial sites exaggerate or withhold relevant nutritional news to maximize sales. However, websites that provide a useful, verifiable, objective nutritional analysis--and don't try to sell you something--do exist.

Considerations

A good nutritional analysis demands accuracy. Jeanne Goldberg, a nutrition science professor at Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition, maintains that websites with the extensions .edu, .gov and often .org contain unbiased nutritional information that is factually accurate and provable. To determine if a commercial site ending in .com is valid, look into who sponsors the site. If a well-known organization or association endorses or manages the site, consider it legitimate.

Benefits

Online nutritional analysis can provide motivation to dieters. It can also stave off a cheating incident, because it’s hard to eat a piece of cake or a cookie if you know it’s going to max out your caloric intake for the day. Online nutritional analysis also can help people with health issues, such as diabetes, monitor their condition more effectively.

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American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association manages a free nutrition analysis website called “My Food Advisor.” Although it is geared to diabetes patients, My Food Advisor provides reliable and valuable information on healthy foods and the nutritional breakdowns of hundreds of processed and restaurant items. My Food Advisor also features recipes with nutritional information itemized by serving.

Calorie King

The Calorie King website, which partners with the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, features an extensive food database with sound nutritional information on thousands of foods and recipes. Calorie King is also a commercial site that advertises its own weight loss program and books, but does so in an understated manner.

My Pyramid Tracker

This site, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Policy and Nutrition, features a thorough analysis of food intake. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, established jointly by the Center for Policy and Nutrition and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers nutritional recommendations and suggestions for improving your overall nutrition.

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