Estimating the Nutrient Content of Commercial Foods from their Label Using Numerical Optimization
We propose a method for automatically estimating the amount of a given nutrient contained in a commercial food. The method applies when no part of any ingredient is removed in the preparation process. First, we automatically bound the amount of each ingredient used to prepare the food using the information provided on its label (Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Label) along with the nutrition information for at least some of the ingredients. Using these bounds (minimum and maximum amount for each ingredient), we obtain an initial set of bounds (minimum and maximum amount) for the nutrient considered. We then utilize the Simplex algorithm to refine these bounds on the nutrient content. Our motivating application is the management of medical diets that require keeping track of certain nutrients such as phenylalanine (Phe) in the case of the inherited metabolic disease phenylketonuria (PKU). To test our method, we used it to estimate the Phe content of 25 commercial foods. In a majority of cases (17 / 25), the bounds obtained were within 10.4mg of each other and thus our method provided a very accurate estimate (\(\pm 5.2\)mg) for the Phe content of the foods.
KeywordsNutrient Content Simplex Algorithm Food Label Commercial Food Initial Feasible Solution
- 3.Kim, J., Boutin, M.: An approximate inverse recipe method with application to automatic food analysis. In: 2014 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Healthcare and e-health (CICARE), pp. 32–39. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
- 4.Kim, J., Boutin, M.: A list of phenylalanine to protein ratios for common foods. ECE Technical Reports. Paper 456 (2014). http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/ecetr/456
- 5.National Institute of Health: Consensus development conference statement. Phenylketonuria: Screening and Management (October 16–18, 2000). http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/pku/sub3.cfm
- 6.Schuett, V.E.: Low Protein Food List for PKU, 3rd edn (2010)Google Scholar
- 7.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: USDA national nutrient database for standard reference, release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page (2012). http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl