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6/29/14 9:24 P

Long ago, members were unable to use their name to indicate the foods they had entered; just an asterisk appeared for items entered by members.

An update then allowed members to include their name, thus making it easier to find their entries. So if the food item has an asterisk or username, it is not USDA food database item.


JOANNEJSMITH SparkPoints: (2,182)
Fitness Minutes: (1,072)
Posts: 19
6/29/14 5:03 P

Thank you Becky!! Yes, I caught on quickly that the things entered by members were not always correct as far as nutrients go. For this reason, even if I have something that's 'organic' I just enter in the the 'conventional' one. Sparkpeople does not care if I have "earthbound organic celery"!!

So are all the entries that do NOT include a sparkpeople user name from the USDA? Sometimes I see the entries have an asterisk in front of them such as *Flax Seed Meal -- what's the difference?

Thank you!!

6/29/14 9:03 A

Just to clarify...
Sparkpeople uses the USDA food database. This database is highly accurate and would contain the complete nutrition profile of the foods you select.

Sparkpeople also allows members to enter their own foods and nutrients contained. This is where incomplete or inaccurate reports can occur.

To get the most accurate report ---do not use entries created by members and stick to the entries from the USDA food data base.

Hope this helps--
Your SP Registered Dietitian

JOANNEJSMITH SparkPoints: (2,182)
Fitness Minutes: (1,072)
Posts: 19
6/29/14 6:26 A

Anarie, that was just the info I was looking for, thanks. As Eelpie said, it's probably best to just ignore all but the basics.

I am just aiming for a very nutrient dense diet (certainly no slurpies!) with the hopes of fighting multiple sclerosis. I eat a variety of healthy food and that should be sufficient ... but when you struggle with a disease that's destroying your central nervous system it's hard not to nitpick. There is balance and that's what I aim for, so thanks again for helping.

ANARIE Posts: 13,184
6/29/14 2:03 A

The Spark tracker relies on public databases. Those databases do NOT have complete information for trace elements. Don't even bother getting an analysis of things like that unless you have reason to believe you're deficient and your doctor says you need to get those things from diet. If your doctor *does* tell you that you need to monitor your intake, you'll have to look at those values for every item you track, and if it lists a 0, go to the most developed version you can find of the USDA database to find those values.

The list of foods that are high in zinc is so long that you would pretty much have to be anorexic to be deficient. Overdose is more common than deficiency. Selenium can't be tracked without lab testing of the food, because the selenium content of a food depends on the soil it was grown in. But it doesn't matter, because humans basically don't get selenium deficiency. The exceptions are people with severe digestive disorders, and they'll be so sick that selenium is the last of their worries. You barely need any copper, and it's in almost everything you eat, so it's not a worry.

Basically, if you eat anything at all other than Slurpees, you're going to be getting enough of these metals. Supplementing with metals can be very risky-- in fact, one of the few ways people can get a copper deficiency is by overdosing with zinc.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/28/14 10:53 P

Don't use the user generated entries if you can help it. Most people only enter what is important to them - like me. I don't enter zinc, selenium and copper - I only enter carbs, cals, fat, protein and sodium - those are the things that matter to me (sorry everyone!).

Create your own data base, to be 100% sure of the numbers - check to enter the foods as "favourites".

JOANNEJSMITH SparkPoints: (2,182)
Fitness Minutes: (1,072)
Posts: 19
6/28/14 10:44 P

Those are the ones sparkpeople nutrition tracker says I'm consistently low in.
No, these things are not listed on packaged foods ... but my foods are rarely packaged anyway. I cook from scratch using whole foods mostly.

Lentils ... we enjoy them a lot. I'll try to eat them more and see if the numbers go up. The links you gave were what I've been looking at mostly and I find that site very helpful. I think maybe the nutrient tracker on here just might not be accurate enough?

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/28/14 10:22 P

Why is it that you need those specific minerals? Just curious.

Anyway, I eat a lot of lentils, which boosts my intake of zinc and copper:

This is a list of selenium rich foods

But, is it listed on a lot of food packaging? Like, in other words, you see stuff like calcium, iron, etc. listed.....but I've ever really seen copper, selenium, etc. listed.

JOANNEJSMITH SparkPoints: (2,182)
Fitness Minutes: (1,072)
Posts: 19
6/28/14 9:40 P

Try as I might, I just never seem to meet the "minimum RDA" for zinc, selenium or copper. I've researched what foods are rich in these things and incorporate them into my diet however it's still not enough. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong websites? Or maybe I really am getting enough but the nutrition info is incomplete in the database of the foods I am waiting?

Any advice? Also, do these minerals flush out of your system daily or are they stored? (Thinking: if I DO find an excellent source of any or all of these, can I just load up one day and be good for a few days or is it a daily thing?)

On a side note, I just discovered these message boards today and am excited to look around. Thanks!

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