The Best Diet Analysis Software To Convert Food Frequency Questionnaire Data Into Nutrient And Food Group Values

Food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) is a dietary intake measurement methodology. It’s delivered as a questionnaire to evaluate the frequency and the portion size data about food and beverage consumption over a specified period of time in a food frequency chart. The period of evaluation or estimation is usually a certain time frame for example is the food consumed daily, weekly or monthly.

What does FFQ provide?

FFQs provide an indication of usual intake and that can be used to obtain population estimates of frequency of consumption of food types.

Developed for specific population groups, a Food frequency questionnaire measures long-term dietary intake. In general, one’s usual average intake over an extended period is easier to recall than specific intake over a short time. FFQs do not quantify absolute intake, but instead rank individuals within a population with 

respect to intake.

Some FFQs may include supplementary questions relating to:

A FFQ includes questions on a set of food and beverage items, such as frequency of consumption, portion size information, and consumption times or the subtype or brand that people consume.

  • Cooking methods and specific types of fat, bread, milk and additions to foods e.g. salt
  • Open-ended section where respondents may record consumption of other foods
  • Dietary behaviours: dieting, meals with family members, etc.
  • Frequency of a diet, such as breakfast, dining outside, BBQ, etc.
  • Brand name information: e.g. breakfast cereals, oils, margarine, dietary supplements, etc.

When is the FFQ method used?

The FFQ method is the most commonly used retrospective method in nutritional epidemiology. It has become a key research tool to assess the relationship between dietary intake and disease risk. That’s why ranking the intake of individuals relative to others in the population, such as high, medium and low in a food frequency chart, becomes necessary.

The food frequency questionnaire method is especially useful for measuring specific dietary behaviors and the intake of particular food groups, for example fruits and vegetables, or selected micronutrients which occur in a 

limited number of foods, such as calcium.

How are estimates of diet derived?

Nutrient consumption may be analyzed based on the product of their reported frequency of consumption, nutrient contents of each food item, and their reported or pre-specified portion size per serving. Each FFQ has a link to a specific in-house food composition table where FFQ’s items are compared and contrasted with the items in a food composition table.

Responses to the food frequency questionnaire are recorded, entered and analyzed in a comparatively short period of time, often in an automated process, allowing dietary data on a large number of people to be collected in a food frequency chart relatively inexpensively. You don’t need to be a nutritional expert for this data entry. However, nutritional researchers can only incorporate additional foods and interpret the results.

Recommended Tool for Diet Analysis:

There are many Diet analysis tools available on the market. For many people, the task is daunting trying to narrow down a selection which provides the most comprehensive solution of features in the software.

Unlike many other tools for diet analysis and FFQs, Nutritionist Pro™, an easy-to-use solution, has been designed by dietitians, with a goal to make a researchers’ life easier.  In trying the Diet Analysis module of Nutritionist Pro™ to create Diets, 24hr recall, a food frequency questionnaire and more for nutrient intake and convert nutrient and food group values, a user quickly understands the difference.

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