Canadian Nutrient File Recipe Proportions Frequently Asked Questions

The CNF Recipe Proportion Database:

What is the CNF Recipe Proportion Database?

It is a compilation of the foods considered recipes in the Canadian Nutrient File. Some foods are comprised of more than one food and are difficult to classify into different food groups because the proportion of ingredients is unknown. In this database the user will know the quantity of cheese in 100g of meat and vegetable pizza or the amount of chicken in the chicken pot pie listed in the Canadian Nutrient File.

Why is the nutrient profile from the CNF different than the one calculated from the Recipe Proportion Database?

The threshold is 20%. While building the recipes, we have tried to match the profile to be within 20% of the CNF macronutrient profile (protein, fat, carbohydrate, water). The recipes are not an exact match of the CNF profiles but are the best estimate we were able to develop.

What is a moisture change? Is it applied to all recipes?

A moisture change is a gain or loss of water due to a cooking process. However, not all recipes have a moisture change. It is used in a recipe when raw ingredients are cooked. Some cooking processes affect the moisture change more than others and some foods are more affected than others. The moisture change is applied to each ingredient individually and not to the whole recipe. The change depends on the water content of the food. In a recipe, a raw banana will loose more water than the sugar or the flour.

Where do the moisture change values come from?

These values are found in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey files.

How is the nutrient content adjusted in a cooked recipe?

Many recipes use cooked ('as consumed') as well as raw ingredients. They then require additional cooking which modifies the levels or densities of the nutrients of the foods involved. Again, it is necessary to apply various retention factors to correct for these changes due to nutrient loss or gain. Examples of these multi-ingredient items include:

  • Beef pie
  • Dessert, flan, caramel custard, dry mix, with whole milk

Recipes become more complicated when starting with raw ingredients. These recipes require adjustment for nutrient losses and gains. Consider, for example, the above beef pie when data are available only for raw meat and vegetablesFootnote 1. The USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors is the major source of nutrient retention data used to calculate the CNF recipe proportions.

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