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Diet Quality Analysis

NutriGenie software provides the most comprehensive and insightful analyses of user's diet. In addition to giving numerical values of macro- and micro-nutrients in a diet, it graphically compares them to the established Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or personal goals.

Most NutriGenie programs provides Food Guide Pyramid analysis as well as calorie distribution from fat, carbohydrate and protein. Several programs calculate Zone blocks and distribution of glycemic index ratings in user's diet.

However, it is not easy to just look at a set of numbers, or even a set of bar charts, and immediately know whether a diet is lacking in minerals or vitamins. It is even harder when one wants to compare one day's diet to another.

NutriGenie solves these problems by providing descriptive Diet Quality Analysis, one of the most significant and convenient features ever implemented in nutrition analysis software. Again, none of our competitors offers this feature.

Starting with Optimal Nutrition version 7.5, we provide descriptive analyses for each diet such as: low-fat, vitamin rich, mineral deficient, etc. Each diet is also rated from 1 to 5 stars based on its nutrition quality.


How NutriGenie Determines Fat, Vitamin and Mineral Qualities of a Diet

The determination of fat, vitamin and mineral qualities is straightforward. There are 4 ratings for each:

Fat ratings are based on the latest recommendation from the Institute of Medicine for total fat consumption in a healthy person's diet, with 20% to 35% of calories from fat as the limits of the Low Fat rating.

Vitamin and mineral content ratings are user-specific: the vitamin and mineral contents of a user's diet is compared with his own RDAs. This means, although uncommon, a diet may be vitamin-poor for an individual but vitamin-adequate for another because the latter's RDAs are lower.
Basically, the more vitamins and minerals exist in a diet the better the ratings. To a limited extent, higher amounts of individual vitamins and minerals also count towards the rating.

Not every diet is perfect in all respects, so a diet low in one or two vitamins can still be rated Vitamin Acceptable if other vitamins are present in high amounts.

These ratings are color-coded: black and red ratings are not desirable, while green and blue are.

 

How NutriGenie Determines the Star Rating of a Diet

Each diet is given a star rating from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest in quality. A 3-star rating means the diet is acceptable.

Our ratings take into account the latest guidelines issued in September 2002 by the Institute of Medicine, the medical division of the National Academies. These guidelines establish the Dietary Reference Intakes for energy, fiber, and macronutrients beyond the earlier RDAs for vitamins and minerals.

These factors are considered in varying degrees towards the rating:

  • Contents of
    • total fat
    • saturated fat
    • cholesterol
    • sodium
    • protein
    • fiber
    • vitamins
    • minerals
  • Variety of foods: diet lacking variety of foods automatically gets a 1-star rating. For example, a diet without fruits, vegetables or grain products in sufficient quantities is a 1-star diet no matter how rich it is in vitamins and minerals.
  • Caloric value of diet: extremely low or extremely high calorie diets receive 1-star rating.

Based on these criteria, users might wish to select diets with at least a 3-star rating. It is not necessary to always aim for a 5-star diet to achieve healthy nutrition. In fact, because of our strict rules, a 4-star diet is a healthy diet based on current recommendations from various health organizations and government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart and Diabetes Associations, etc.

To allow some convenience in testing hypothetical diets, our software doesn't take into account the distribution of foods throughout the day in its rating. The user can record a full day's worth of foods in one single meal for evaluation. Once a satisfactory diet has been obtained, the foods can be redistributed to other meals as desired.

 

Is it possible for a diet low in vitamins and minerals to have a 3-star ('Acceptable') rating?

Yes, if it is a well-balanced diet and other aspects of the diet are desirable such as: low fat, low saturated fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, adequate fiber, etc. Normally, a low-calorie diet for weight control tends to lack vitamins and minerals. Users on low-calorie diet might want to consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

 

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