Food

India’s new Food Composition Table provides data on nutritive value of 586 foods

The data in the book can help identify the crops that should be grown to fight micronutrient deficiency

 
By Vibha Varshney
Last Updated: Friday 27 January 2017
This report is the first to provide information on the availability of vitamin D2 in plant-based foods. Credit: ilovebutter/ Flicker
This report is the first to provide information on the availability of vitamin D2 in plant-based foods. Credit: ilovebutter/ Flicker This report is the first to provide information on the availability of vitamin D2 in plant-based foods. Credit: ilovebutter/ Flicker

After a long wait of 28 years, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has come out with extensive data on the nutritive value of Indian foods. The report, Indian Food Compositions Tables 2017, provides data on 151 food components found in 528 foods, including both plants, marine and animals-based foods collected from six geographical regions in India. The book provides data on nutrients in raw food and presents the inherent values. This report is the first to provide information on the availability of vitamin D2 in plant-based foods. Amongst the foods that showed high amounts of the vitamin are black amaranth seeds (58.67microgrm/100g) and soya bean—both brown (66.22microgram/100gm) and white (69.81microgram/100gm)

The data in the book can help guide public health and agriculture programmes in the country. For example, it can help identify the crops that should be grown to fight micronutrient deficiency. It can also help indicate the food that should be made available in the public distribution system. It can also help in setting up rational food-based dietary guidelines and ensuring better food labelling. 

At the International Symposium on Food Composition in Nutrition and Health that followed the launch of the report, Ruth Charrondiere of INFOODS/FAO Rome pointed out the important role this data can play in mainstreaming of biodiversity in diet. She gave the example of a variety of banana, Utin lap, from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia which provides more than 200 per cent of the required daily intake of vitamin A to the person who consumes 93 grams of it.  Biodiversity is making the difference between nutrient adequacy and inadequacy, she said.

However, the data released by the NIN has not looked at biodiversity and has analysed only commercial crops. T Longvah, director of NIN, says that they plan to check underutilised and neglected foods in future. “The regional data shows variation in minerals and vitamins across the country.  We will use regional databases for epidemiological relation between food and disease,” he says.

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  • This book tells a lot about the nutrition scenario in India right before independence. Prevalence of diseases of malnutrition during those times, about how nutrition centres were setup, nutrient content obtained for a number of foods and recommendations made for improving health. There is also mention of rising number of cases of diabetes during the 1990s. This edition of the book lists about vitamin d too for the first time as it says, which is really important as many people today are deficient of it.

    I have read this book as PDF as it is available freely. And then i decided to make a nutrition query portal. And here it is:
    https://ifct2017.github.io

    You can search for things like "show food with highest calcium" or like "show veg where protein plus total fat is more than fifty five grams" (really its like writing queries in plain english instead of SQL). 50 results are returned (with images) and each food links to a full nutritional description page. I have also mentioned about ketogenic diet, and essential nutrients (taken from the database).

    Posted by: Subhajit Sahu | 11 months ago | Reply