FoodCalc

by Jesper Lauritsen

 
FoodCalc is a simple program to calculate intake of nutrients when given a list with amounts of different foods consumed and another list with contents of nutrients for the different foods (a food table).
The calculations done by FoodCalc are rather simple, however it does have some flexibility especially in how to do reductions of nutrients when foods are cooked by boiling, frying, etc.
FoodCalc is very efficient, making it possibly quite quickly to compute intakes for tens or even hundreds of thousands of people with each hundreds or thousands of foods consumed. The time taken for FoodCalc to do the calculations will largely depend on the computer used. At the time of writing FoodCalc is available for Windows 95/98/NT and for HP-UX. Also the source code is available, and can be easily compiled on most systems that has an ANSI C compiler.

The FoodCalc program was written by Jesper Lauritsen. The writing of the initial version and some of the later changes was largely funded by the Diet, Cancer and Health project at the Danish Cancer Society.
The program is in the public domain. You may use it and change it in any way you like. However, you should always give due credit to Jesper Lauritsen. Also, neither Jesper Lauritsen nor the Danish Cancer Society can in no way be responsibly for any damages done by this program. Also, neither Jesper Lauritsen nor the Danish Cancer Society gives any guaranties what so ever regarding the functionality or correctness of this program. Basically you can use it if you want, but if it does not follow your expectations, you have no one to blame but your self. If you have any questions, comments, bug reports, bug fixes, or enhancements, please send e-mail to Jesper Lauritsen.

Why you should not use FoodCalc:
If you want to calculate nutrient intakes just for your self and a few friends. FoodCalc is not at all useful for this!
If you do not have a food table. FoodCalc does not include a food table. However it can be used with the large USDA food table which is freely available, and a subset of the Danish national food table is available for download here.
If you do not have any experience with command based statistical tools like SAS or SPSS or you do not have the help of a programmer. FoodCalc has no Windows, forms or buttons - you have to write small specialized programs!
If you do not have a statistical and/or graphical package. FoodCalc can not produce any (non-trivial) statistics nor any graphs.
If you do not have knowledge about how food calculations are done. FoodCalc has lots of different ways of doing the calculations - you need to be able to choose and specify those you need.
Why you should use FoodCalc:
If you have data for thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundred of thousands of persons. FoodCalc is very fast.
If you have a food table. FoodCalc can be used with almost any food table.
If you have your data in a database system, an interview support system or some other system or in text files. It is usually quite easy to export the data to a form readable by FoodCalc.
If you want full control on how the food calculations are done. FoodCalc can do a lot of different specialized calculations.
If you want to analyze the resulting data in your favorite statistical and graphical package. The results of FoodCalc calculations can usually very easily be read into most packages.
If you want to do food calculations as a part of a larger system. FoodCalc can effectively be integrated in many environments and it is highly portable.
If you want assistance on doing food calculations etc. you can try sending me an e-mail. Occasionally I take consultancy jobs on a hourly basis.
Are you Danish?
Then you should start by reading this short introduction to the use of FoodCalc together with the Danish national food table. This document is in Danish.
If you are using a variation of the questionnaire developed for the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health project you should definitely contact them for information about conversion to grams per day, for recipes, and for use with FoodCalc. You can try e-mail to connie@cancer.dk.
If you want to use the Danish data for trans fatty acids from the TransFair project, you should contact me about that.

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