Food diaries are usually entered in batches of up to 200 diaries known as datasets. The processing of one dataset using DINERMO achieves, for each line of data in each food diary, the conversion of the entered data into a weight of that food and the calculation of the nutrients contained in this weight of food. Intake for each day is calculated and the total intake for 7 days divided by the number of days to provide the average intake for each individual.
There are many stages involved in achieving the final set of data. The DINERMO program first checks the entered diary data and also the underlying databases. The individual diary data is checked for completeness with regard to the number of meals and days data entered as well as the appropriateness of food choices and correct use of portion sizes.
To be able to calculate the nutrient data, all databases (e.g. for portions, food densities or cooking losses) are checked for completeness as they must contain the data appropriate to the particular foods and portion sizes selected in each diary. There may be new foods which arise in a set of diary data and these must be added to the DINER program with data in the associated databases before nutrient data can be calculated. After all these stages are complete and checks are cleared the nutrients can be calculated.
The calculation program uses a nutrient database based on the 2200 foods in the UK food composition database (UKFCD). For new foods, nutrient data are derived by matching the known composition of the new food to proportions of existing items in the UKFCD, to create the best possible nutritional equivalent.
The final data produced by this process is the average intake at different levels (food groups, foods and nutrients) by day and individual.
A series of in-filling programmes have enabled us to complete missing values in the UKFCD. The design of DINER allows the range of nutrients processed to be easily extended.