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We provide nutritional information for all of our recipes. How do we calculate that information?
Food.com uses the USDA nutritional information database. The USDA classifies thousands of foods and gives their nutritional analysis and we rely on this data to compute the nutritional totals on our recipes. If the USDA hasn't added an ingredient to their list for nutritional analysis, we can't compute it on Food.com either. As the USDA updates their database, we do as well.
Nutritional totals are figured on a per-serving basis and include all foods in the ingredients list. We simply total the nutritional information for all foods in the ingredients of a recipe, and then divide by the number of servings it makes to arrive at the per-serving nutritional information. For many recipes, our members have not listed serving information, in which case we simply provide the nutritional information for the entire recipe. This, of course, may result in enormous numbers. To improve our nutritional information, we encourage you to provide serving information for any recipes you have tried.
We use the lower number when a range is given. If a recipe makes from 2-4 servings, we calculate nutritional analysis as if the recipe makes 2, i.e. half of the dish. Likewise, if a recipe calls for 1-2 cups of cheese, we assume you only use 1.
Ingredient sizing can vary. Some recipes specify an ingredient size as simply "1 can", "1 package", etc. Obviously, the size of the can or package you use may differ from the size the recipe author used. We request recipe authors explicitly specify the exact size in these cases, but not all authors have. In these cases, Food.com assumes a standard size for the ingredient (10 3/4 ounces for a can of soup, for example) and uses this size to compute nutritional data.
Some ingredients are included in the nutritional data, even though they do not make it into the final product. At this time, Food.com is unable to distinguish between ingredients that go into the final dish and those that are only used in preparation and then disposed -- for example, marinade ingredients or deep-frying oil. Thus, be aware the nutritional facts may be inflated as a result of including these ingredients.
Optional ingredients or ingredients without discrete measurements are not included in the nutritional information. When an ingredient in a recipe does not have an explicit measurement, we cannot calculate nutritional data for it. We don't know if "salt, to taste" or "sour cream, to taste" means a teaspoon, a tablespoon, or none to you. Therefore, we omit these ingredients from the nutritional computation. Likewise, if the ingredient is marked "optional," it is not included in the nutritional information.
Always consult a registered dietician or your physician before embarking on any diet plan which relies on these numbers and for any other questions.
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