The USDA has recently released version sr24 of their food database. We’ve updated our foods with this new information. This release adds over 300 new food items, as well as more accurate nutritional information for existing items.
Gold Subscribers get a new feature this week: Ask The Oracle. Located on the Foods tab, the nutrient oracle can help you explore the food database to find good sources for particular nutrients.
The results can be ranked in three different ways: Highest amount Per Calorie, highest amount per Gram, and by The Oracle. The last option ranks foods according to a wide variety of factors. Ranking by nutrient density per calorie isn’t always a great way to find good foods to add to your diet to shore up a nutrient deficiency. For example, certain spices are very nutrient dense per calorie, but you would never consume that item in enough volume to get a significant amount of the nutrient. You’re going to have a hard time eating 200 grams of cinnamon, let me tell you! Also, many foods that are rich in certain nutrients are not very practical or popular. Alaskan Ring Seal Livers may be great, but you’ll have a hard time finding them at your grocery store.
The Oracle considers nutrient density, food popularity, and how much of a nutrient is in a typical serving size. It actively learns from all of you what foods people really eat, and how much at a time. This helps finding practical choices much easier. You can also filter by food category (pretty important to you vegans out there), to find the best choices in that category alone.
At long last, we now have an iPhone app available for users of CRON-O-Meter. Like the Android client, this is not as full featured as the web version itself, but allows for quick and easy viewing of your diary and logging items on the go.
Note: If you normally log into the web site using Facebook/Google/Yahoo you will need to go to the Profile tab and choose an alternative username and password for your account, as the app does not let you log in using the third party providers.
Today’s new version adds some preliminary support for languages. Don’t get too excited — it’s just a baby step in the direction of having full translations.
To kick things off, we’ve added food data from the Canadian Nutrient File (CNF). This database contains roughly 5800 food items, although many are derived from the USDA dataset, slightly modified to reflect some Canadian differences. These items are provided with both English and French names.
We’ve expanded our database to handle foods having different names in different languages. Now, by default searching for foods will search in all available languages (if you don’t want French items coming up in your results, just set the search filter to English only.
Brave French speaking users may also want to change their ‘preferred language’ under the Profile tab. This will show the names of foods, food categories, and other user interface elements in French when available. However, until a fuller translation is available, it may be strange to have so much French and English mixed together.
We’ve just released a new food & recipe editor. This version should be simpler to use than before. Instead of a pop-up dialog, the food details are displayed inline on the foods tab and can be edited in place.
We’ve also changed some of the nutrient categorizations around to be more logical. Carbohydrates has it’s own category. Total Protein has moved in with the Amino Acids into a renamed Protein category. Total Fat has moved into the Lipids category. This should make it easier to find these nutrients, especially when entering in nutrition label details.
There are a few hidden features we’d like to take a moment to point out for you power-users.
In the diary, you can now multi-select entries by shift-clicking the items. This will filter the nutrition summary below to show totals for just your selection. This is very useful if you want to see how a particular meal contributes to your nutrition.
Right-clicking (or control-clicking) on an entry or set of selected entries will show a context-sensitive pop-up menu from which you can view, delete, or copy the selected items. Copied items can be pasted using the widget menu, allowing whole meals to be copied between days.
Gold subscribers also gain the ability to quickly create a new Recipe from a set of selected items.
Another sneaky feature is the ability to enter negative amounts. This can be useful if you have a recipe like a Breakfast smoothy that you normally make with a banana. If you made one with just half a banana, you can then enter -0.5 of a banana to subtract the missing ingredient from your totals:
For our subscribers, we’ve added a new feature today. There is now the ability to export all of your diary data to .csv files. These can be opened in spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, or Google Docs, where you can slice and dice your data any way you like.
For all users, the nutrition report contains a new option to include or exclude supplements from the report data. This is useful if you want to see how nutritionally dense your diet is sans-supplements.
We’ve updated how Vitamin A (IU) is calculated for our USDA foods. It turns out that the USDA values are using an out-dated method for calculating IU that has been discredited in recent years as being far too generous. It has been shown that our bodies do not convert carotenoids as efficiently as it was previously thought. Where possible, the more accurate values are now being used. You will likely see your Vitamin A target percentages drop significantly, especially if you are a vegetarian.
We’re nearly ready to release our beta Android client for Gold Subscribers. We’re currently targeting Android 2.2 or later and hope to have it out this week. Here’s a few screenshots.
By request, we are pleased to note that we now also accept Bitcoins for subscriptions. We’ll accept payment in BTC at the 1 day weighted average price. If interested, email us for further details. We’ve officially done one bitcoin transaction so far, and are proud to support this new digital currency.