Nutrient Analysis…Chapter and Verse

Nutrient Analysis…Chapter and Verse

October 7, 2015

Book Review by Jane Andrews, MS, RDN

Almost every week a group of us “huddles” on some quirky question.  What’s the nutrition scoop on bone broth?  What about marketing claims for wheat grass juice (again)?  How much variation is okay for calories in a category, like bagels, before we provide as a range instead of a discrete number?  Although the rest of our staff see us as the go-to people for all things nutrition, retail RDNs do not actually know everything.  We must turn to trusted resources.  That’s especially true for questions related to nutrient analysis and product labeling.  Though most RDNs have had exposure to nutrient analysis, it’s not at the depth needed for product development or the new requirements of menu labeling. Additionally, the regulatory side of labeling has never been a required competency for RDNs who must learn on the job.  Until now my resources have been sketchy:  Post-it-note-filled CFRs, photocopied charts, occasional workshops, a host of professional contacts and simple experience in using on-line resources.    

Fortunately, our esteemed culinary nutrition colleagues, Catharine Powers and Cheryl Dolven, have organized a wonderful resource for retail RDNs and others interested in this important work.  This new bible is entitled Recipe Nutrient Analysis: Best practices for calculation and chemical analysis.  Besides their own impressive experience on the topic, they have assembled an amazing group of contributors and reviewers.  In full disclosure, I helped with the regulatory chapter, but was relieved to have experts like Wendy Hess as co-contributor, and Barbara Schneeman, formerly the guru of nutrition labeling at the FDA, as reviewer.  Every chapter has information that is difficult to find elsewhere.  It’s almost as though you can feel the experts huddle in sharing their experience and wisdom with you.  Priceless!

Here’s a quick overview of the book:

Recipe Nutrient Analysis: Best practices for calculation and chemical analysis is a step-by-step guide for determining the nutrients in recipes and contains practical advice and a collection of resources you won’t find anywhere else.  This book, which is the first and only of its kind, serve as a “how to” guide for calculated analysis; it also creates a foundation for standards of practice in this area.  Contents include:

  • A discussion of the importance of accurate nutrient analysis
  • An overview of chemical and calculated analysis
  • A “how to” guide for calculated analysis
  • A summary of how to account for cooking and handling procedures
  • A description of cooking platforms and their impact on nutrient content
  • Detailed considerations for specific food groups 
  • A primer on disclosing food allergies 
  • An overview of regulatory considerations
  • Guidance for consultants
  • Appendices full of useful resources

The text can be order at or 

Jane Andrews, MS, RDN is the Nutrition & Product Labeling Manager for Wegmans Food Markets.  She received no payment for her contribution to the book or for this review.