Where can I find accurate nutrition info?


#1

Recipes on http://diy.soylent.me/ have extremely detailed nutrition information but it is not indicated anywhere where said information comes from. i.e: my current favorite recipe “schmoylent” has the ingredient oat flour, links to Amazon Honeyville oat flour which provides zero nutrition info and after searching the internet for said info and getting nothing from the honeywell website I come across fitness pal who’s numbers don’t match diy’s numbers with the biggest discrepancy being fiber with 27g (fitnesspal) vs 13g (diy). The fat numbers are off by quite a bit as well, especially the subfat categories. This is just one example that stands true for everything I’ve come across. Ingredients with only 1 or 2 nutrition values seem to be more accurate. How am I supposed to put together a recipe that really has everything I need? Soylent kind-a fills that need due to dietician oversight and I’ve recently had an opportunity to try Soylent again (after not having liked my first experience at all) and this time around I loved it. Instead of water I added coffee and a banana to it. The bitterness in the coffee totally hides the fake sweetener taste. I’d love to go on the Soylent train again but have to mention that shortly after drinking it I got super tired and had to take a nap. This happened the first time as well and I blamed maltodextrin but wasn’t too worried about it because my then-DIY didn’t contain any but schmoylent does except for I don’t need a nap after a schmoylent meal. I know I’m going off subject. No need to suggest ordering from @axcho, I’ve done that and am currently waiting for a custom blend but again, where does the diy recipe site get its info from and more importantly where can I get accurate info from?


#2

If you go to the actual manufacturers website instead of amazons ‘product description’, the manufacturer/producer usually will have a full break down.


#3

I would recommend the USDA database, or probably more accessibly, nutritiondata.self.com, which pulls straight from it. For example, oat flour. I’ve also found it helps to compare against the numbers on the nutrition label itself (taking into account FDA rounding rules) since any specific brand may have different content than the USDA’s average. Combining these two should give you a good approximation.


#4

I think it’s good practice to reference your sources, at least informally. That’s what I’ve done with my diy. For your own diy, keep in mind that the whole USDA SR-25 is already part of the site. There are a few nutrients that USDA doesn’t track but are listed in the nutrient profiles - biotin (vitamin B-7), chloride, chromium and molybdenum. You can find these values for many foods at the Whole Food Catalog. Chloride’s ubiquitous, but to get a reasonable estimate, I assumed one chloride ion for every sodium ion.


#5

When you’re adding an ingredient to your DIY recipe using diy.soylent.me, looking at the ingredients list, click the link at the top which says “NEW! Add a food from the USDA Database to your recipe”. It will have oat flour, although probably not specific brands. It will also include all the small amounts of micronutrients which might be omitted from the product label itself.


#6

Yeah I hear you @amy, it’s really frustrating personally. I really wish that manufacturers would include more information in the nutrition facts. For instance, oat float contains micronutrients like magnesium and the like, but this is included nowhere on the nutrition label. The USDA doesn’t require them to do that, they’re only interested in a select few micronutrients like vitamins A, B, and C, and iron, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It’s as if none of the other ones matter (or perhaps they do matter but they assume people can easily get the recommended amounts). Oh and they also round the numbers, because I guess people don’t like decimal numbers on the label.

Anyway as others have mentioned the USDA database is a good source and the source that I use. What I’ll do is I will add an ingredient to my recipe using the USDA database and then replace each value that shows up on the nutrition label. It’s sometimes a lot of work because the serving sizes are different (USDA always uses 100g, manufacturer may vary) so I have to scale up. It isn’t exact, but it’s better than nothing in my opinion.

All manufacturers should have more detailed nutrition information as (unless you are buying food off the street) they have done testing to prove that their food is safe for selling. So if you’re lucky you may be able to contact them and get a PDF back or soemthing. I’m not sure which ones are good about that unfortunately as I haven’t gone that far so you’ll just have to give it a shot.


#7

Thanks for all the responses. This is what I was afraid of - that I’ll just have to do a lot of research and then set up my own Excel file with all the info. I suck at both. I just started using Udo’s 3.6.9 oil because it balances the omegas but of course the other ingredients are not balanced so it throws off the ratio. Oh well it’ll be a work in progress.


#8

You can edit the ingredients in your DIY recipe online and they’ll stay put, so you don’t have to manage it all in an Excel sheet of your own design if you don’t want to.

I’ve done this on mine to improve accuracy on some ingredients, and also to replace the Sulfur contents with SAA amounts (sulfur-containing amino acids.) This way the diy.soylent.me tool shows me “in the green” for sulfur from my protein sources, even though I’m not adding any sulfur to the formula directly.


#9

What exactly are you doing for sulfur, MentalNomad? I’ve assumed that the needed amount can be found in my protein source, but I’d rather use a more meaningful estimate.


#10

I also wish foods had a complete nutritional profile listed when there is space (e.g. the side of a cereal box has the space, but the back of a candy wrapper does not. Also, one is a snack, the other is used by many people as part of their primary diet).

Part of the reason is what you mentioned: many of the micronutrients are very easy to get enough of even with the typical crappy American diet. Throw in some daily vegetables, are you are pretty much guaranteed to have enough of most of the unlisted micronutrients. That is not to say that a typical diet will have the optimal amount of a given micro, only that most people will be in the range where there will not be symptoms of a deficiency.

But it would be nice to have more complete info. I find that even on manufacturer’s web sites they do not normally have complete nutritional info available. Maybe the food tests they perform do not measure every esoteric mineral? Some casual google armchair “research” indicates there are several food labs in the U.S. but I did not find much on the actual tests they perform.


#11

I use the manufacturer’s info if possible, with data from the USDA database to supplement, generally speaking.


#12

Methionone and cysteine are the two essential amino acids containing sulfur. The protein sources I use list them in the label breakdown. I calculate the number of grams of each in a serving, add them together, and enter it in the “sulfur” field (which should properly be labelled SAA - “Sulfur-containing Amino Acid.”) Remember to divide by 1,000 going from milligrams on the label to grams on the site.

After doing this, all my personal formulas show me getting enough.

In case you want to confirm, the standard for SAA’s is 14 mg per kg of body weight, so 1 g is a decent average. At my size, 1.5 g is plenty. There’s no specific concern about upper limit within the ranges normally consumed via protein. There is no standard for pure sulfur (or “elemental sulfur”) requirements because the body doesn’t take or use it that way. The reason the SAA requirement is not usually stated on labels is because meeting your protein requirement necessarily meets your SAA requirements, unless you’re choosing wacky proteins (like, say, gelatin or collagen, which have almost no methionone or cysteine and are not considered “balanced” sources of protein for people.)

Reference:


First DIYer: Wanna help a newbie?
#13

It would be nice, but it would also be difficult and expensive. For some trace elements, the amount varies wildly. You can grow the same oat seed on two different farms, and get different amounts of trace minerals in the resulting flour, because it’s just a matter of what’s in the soil on those particular farms. A company getting their raw materials from multiple farms would need to be constantly measuring, testing, and then either blending/supplementing to standardize their output, or changing the label on every batch.

It’s a waste to do that for items which don’t rise to medical significance for most people.


#14

Thanks. Wouldn’t you multiply this value by the ration of the molecular weight of sulfur to those of the amino acids? 0.265 for cysteine and 0.215 for methionine.


#15

No, you don’t need to multiply through by ratio weight to get at the elemental sulfur content, because there is no dietary recommendation for sulfur. The USDA does not publish a DRI for sulfur.

Here’s a handy page with all the daily reference intake charts put out by the USDA; you’ll find that none show any requirement for sulfur:
http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/dietary-reference-intakes/dri-tables

The do include minimum requirements for protein, however, and some charts break out the “indispensable amino acids,” including methionone and cysteine. See the last page of this: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI/DRI_Tables/macronutrients.pdf

So there is a dietary need for SAA’s, Sulfur-containing Amino Acids.
1 g is the correct minimum amount of SAA’s for an individual weighing about 70 Kg. To be more accurate, people need roughly 14mg of SAA per Kg of body weight (per the link I provided earlier from the National Institutes of Health.)

The DIY site should not have a line for sulfur because there is no DRI for sulfur. The recommended figure that they have in the Nutrient Profiles for the US government DRI is a good match for the actual DRI for SAA. You’ll notice the Australian and Canadian Nutrient Profiles on the DIY site show a requirement for 0 mg of sulfur.


#16

I noticed that when I add ingredients to my diys from the USDA database, sulfur values are reported. So, I thought that’s where they must be coming from. But sulfur isn’t included. It’s a mystery.


#17

Hmmm… I just did a test… the DIY Soylent site allows me to pull a known sulfur-containing food like “broccoli, raw.” The page of USDA data shows no listing for sulfur, but it does show:

Methionine 0.038 g
Cystine 0.028 g

If you total them, it’s .066 g of SAA’s.

When you click “add to recipe” and it converts it to the DIY format, it shows:

Sulfur .066 g per serving

So the tool is correctly calculating the SAA content, but the label inaccurately says “Sulfur” instead of “SAA.”


#18

Cool - thanks for checking. Now, I can correct my recipes. I’d love to find complete data on my protein and carbs.


#19

All three protein powders I use break down the amino acids. I had to manually enter them.

My oat flour does not… but I already hit the numbers off the proteins, so I don’t worry, but now the completionist in me wants to go check the USDA database…


#20

:frowning:

USDA entry for oat flour doesn’t include a breakdown of the protein.