a1 Laboratory of ’Micronutrients and Cardiovascular Disease’, UMR7079, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Bât A, 5 étage, 7 Quai Saint Bernard, 75005 Paris, France
a2 Italian Heart Foundation, Milan, Italy
a3 San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
a4 Giovanni Lorenzini Medical Foundation, Milan, Italy and Houston, USA
a5 Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimentie la Nutrizione, Rome, Italy
The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (for example, cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes and cancer) is rampant in Western societies, accounting for approximately 60 % of all causes of death. A large proportion of non-communicable diseases can be prevented through appropriate diets and lifestyles. Accordingly, several health authorities and regulatory bodies are assessing the nutritional profiles of food items and whole diets, to implement guidelines aimed at improving the diet of the general population. While a global approach is desirable, the need of individuals to maintain their distinct dietary habits must also be taken into account. The portion sizes of food as well as pattern of food consumption, for example during or between the main meals, are very important in determining the nutritional profile of a diet. A novel method to assess the nutritional profile of foods is being proposed and made available on-line. Its main innovative aspects are (1) the comprehensive manner with which the system analyses and computes a great range of features of individual food items and (2) the distinction among eating occasions, namely during or in-between the main meals. Moreover, this approach allows for rapid modification and great flexibility to suit individual needs and gastronomic habits.
(Accepted October 07 2007)
(Received July 30 2007)