National Food Institute - Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Danish Food Composition Databank - ed. 7.01


About the food data  -  Comments on food groups

There are some comments attached to the explanations about the data, especially in some food groups. For quite a few foods, there is a direct relationship between the contents of one component to one or several other components.

The work concerning the investigation of these relationships is under constant development and is improved as new and better analyses of foods become available. The relationship between the fat content and fat soluble vitamins in milk products is used in the calculation of the content of these components in milk and milk products. Similar relationships are used for the cholesterol content in dairy and meat products. The remarks concerning fatty acid trans C 18:1 have also been derived from calculations.

The specific relationships are explained in the following paragraphs.

Milk and milk products

Fat soluble vitamins in dairy products

As the content of the fat soluble vitamins (retinol, carotene, vitamin D and vitamin E) in dairy products closely follows the milk fat content, the values are calculated on the basis of the milk fat content. The manufacturing of these products has not been shown to have any impact on the content or degradation of these vitamins.

It should be noted, though, that the content of the fat soluble vitamins in dairy products shows a significant seasonal variation. In the food composition databank, only the yearly averages are shown.

The values used in the calculation of the fat soluble vitamins are shown in table 9.


Table 9.     Calculation of fat soluble vitamins.

Vitamin Unit Calculated as

retinol μg/100g total fat (g/100g) * 8.5 (μg retinol/g fat)
  ß carotene μg/100g total fat (g/100g) * 4.4 (μg ß carotene/g fat)  
  vitamin D μg/100g total fat (g/100g) * 0.0086 (μg vitamin D/g fat) +
moisture (g/100g) * 0.0008 (μg vitamin D/g moisture)
vitamin E αTE total fat (g/100g) * 25.5 (μg α-tocopherol/g fat)

The factors have been derived from the results in the references no. 00128, 00142, 00143, 00151 and 00161.

Fatty acids in dairy products

The fatty acid content of dairy products are calculated in a similar manner when specific analytical results are missing. It is assumed that the fatty acid content of milk and milk products shows a constant and uniform distribution, this presumption is not  completely right as the fatty acid distribution in milk has a clear seasonal variation and dependent on the feed and race of the cow.

Table 10 shows the average values used in the calculation of the fatty acids in dairy products (the values have been derived from results in reference no. 00324).

Table 10.   Average fatty acid profile in cow's milk fat

Fatty acid g fatty acid/100 g milk fat

C 4:0 3.4
C 6:0 2.2
C 8:0 1.4
C 10:0 3.1
C 12:0 3.9
C 14:0 11.0
C 16:0 29.6
C 18:0 10.1
C 14:1 1.4
C 16:1 2.2
C 18:1 22.2
C 18:2 2.1
C 18:3 0.8
C 20:1 1.2


Cholesterol in dairy products

The cholesterol content in dairy products is also closely related to the content of milk fat. In the case of cholesterol, however, it is necessary to take the processing of the milk product into account. Products that have undergone a separation (e.g. skimmed milk) contain a proportionally larger amount of cholesterol than 'unseparated' products. On the basis of data from USA (reference no. 00800), the relationship between the content of milk fat and content of cholesterol is shown in table 11.


Table 11.  Relationship between cholesterol and milk fat

Milk product mg cholesterol per g milk fat

  Whole milk and
semi-skimmed milk
  Skimmed milk   11  
  Cheese and cream     3.3  
  Skimmed milk powder   25  
  Whole milk powder   4


Cereals and cereal products

Niacin in cereals and cereal products

For cereals, the niacin equivalent value has been calculated only from the tryptophan content, as niacin (nicotinic acid) is regarded unavailable in this food group of foods due the binding of all present niacin.


Meat and meat products

General remarks

For meat and uncured meat there is a direct relationship between the proximate fractions and vitamin and mineral content, and vales can be derived as follows.

Fatty acids in meat and meat products

Fatty acids in meat and meat products are always calculated on the basis of the fatty acid profile for the meat type in question and the content of total fat.

Amino acids in meat and meat products

Amino acids in meat and meat products are always calculated on the basis of the amino acid profile for the meat type in question and the content of nitrogen.

Cholesterol in meat and meat products

For meat cuts and uncured meat, there is a direct connexion between the content of protein and fat and the content of cholesterol. For these meat cuts, the cholesterol content can be calculated on the basis of the protein and fat content.

The values for meat cuts have been calculated in the basis of the following algorithm (derived from US data, reference no. 00800), if no analytical data have been available:


cholesterol [mg/100g] = protein [g/100g] * x + total fat [g/100g]*y
where x: 2.6 mg/g protein for pork
2.65 mg/g protein for beef
3.25 mg/g protein for lamb, mutton
    y: 1 mg/g fat for all types of meat  


Information about meat cuts

Meat cuts vary considerably over time and is dependent on the market trends (consumer demands, trade traditions, etc.). These developments will invariably cause changes in especially the fat and protein content and hence, also in the content of micro nutrients.

For Danish pork, the changes have been obvious. During the last 25 years, pork has become gradually more lean, new cuts have been introduced, and some cuts have changed names.

Beef cuts have only undergone minor changes during the same period.

When using the values for meat cuts, it is important to notice that the component values are average values, and that the content of fat (fatty acids) and protein (amino acids) can be different in a concrete meat cut. If, for example, a concrete meat product is estimated to being more lean than the same cut mentioned in this data collection, in nutrient calculations you can substitute the values with values for a similar more lean meat type.


Department of Nutrition  -   Mørkhøj Bygade 19  -  DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark  -  Phone +45 35 88 70 00 Updated 2009-03-16