TermDefinition
Acetic acidAn organic acid and the main component of vinegar. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
AlanineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
AlcoholEthanol is present in alcoholic beverages and although not an essential nutrient it is high in energy. Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of vitamins and minerals, but not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to our diet.
Alpha-caroteneOne of the carotenoids that has provitamin A activity (i.e. is converted to vitamin A in our body). For FSANZ labelling purposes 12 µg of natural carotenes convert to 1 µg retinol (vitamin A is expressed in retinol equivalents).
Alpha-tocopherolOne of the forms of vitamin E. α-Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E that is preferentially absorbed and accumulated in humans.
Alpha-tocopherol equivalents (ATE)For nutritional purposes vitamin E is often expressed as alpha-tocopherol equivalents. Conversion factors are used to express other forms of vitamin E this way on the basis of their activity.
AluminiumAluminium (Al) is a mineral that can occur naturally in foods through uptake from soils or water, or from aluminium-containing food additives.
Amino AcidsAmino acids are the building blocks of protein and are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet. The non-essential amino acids are also essential for health, but can be synthesized in the body from the essential amino acids.
AntioxidantsCompounds that prevent or inhibit oxidation of a substance (e.g. vitamin C, vitamin E). Note that general antioxidant claims cannot be made for foods and any antioxidant claim must be linked to a nutrient with a pre-approved radical scavenging claim.
ArginineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
ArsenicArsenic (As) chemical element found in water, air, food and soil as a naturally occurring substance or due to contamination. While arsenic can be toxic to humans, exposure through food is very unlikely to make you sick.
Ascorbic acidA water-soluble vitamin referred to as vitamin C.
AshThe inorganic mineral elements of foods, determined by burning off the organic matter and weighing the residue.
AsparagineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Aspartic acidOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Available carbohydrate

Also termed simple carbohydrates. There are several ways of calculating available carbohydrate and which one to use depends on your need – for labelling purposes the preference is ‘Available carbohydrate, FSANZ’ but the FSANZ one by difference is also acceptable.

  • Available carbohydrate, FSANZ: Sum of analytical values of sugars, starch and, if qualified or added to the food oligosaccharides, glycogen and maltodextrin.
  • Carbohydrate by difference, FSANZ: Calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water, protein, fat, alcohol, ash and dietary fibre from 100.
  • Available carbohydrates by weight: Sum of analytical values of sugars, starch and glycogen.
  • Available carbohydrate by difference: Calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water, protein, fat, alcohol, ash and dietary fibre from 100.
Beta-carotene

One of the carotenoids that has provitamin A activity (i.e. is converted to vitamin A in our body). For FSANZ labelling purposes 12 µg of natural carotenes convert to 1 µg retinol (vitamin A is expressed in retinol equivalents).

Beta-carotene equivalentsCalculated by multiplying alpha-carotene by the conversion factor for beta-carotene equivalent of alpha-carotene and adding beta-carotene.
Beta-tocopherolOne of the forms of vitamin E. β-tocopherol is less active than α-tocophenol and to convert to α-tocophenol equivalents is multiplied by 0.4.
BiotinThe common name for vitamin B7. Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that can only be made by bacteria, yeasts, moulds, algae, and some plant species. Biotin is essential for your body's metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates (i.e. helps your body get the energy it needs to function), and as well as a range of other functions.
BoronBoron (B) is a mineral that can occur naturally in foods through uptake from soil.
C(a)esiumC(a)esium (Cs) is a mineral is found naturally in small amounts in the soil. It doesn't typically enter plants in large amounts and is only an issue in countries with nuclear power plants, mainly through accident.
CadmiumCadmium (Cd) is a heavy metal found as an environmental contaminant, both through natural occurrence and from industrial and agricultural sources. Cadmium is toxic to humans at high concentrations but the amount of cadmium in the diet of the average New Zealander is within World Health Organization guidelines – and well below concentrations that affect human health.
CaffeineCaffeine occurs naturally in foods, such as coffee, tea and cocoa and has a long history of safe use as a mild stimulant. Too much caffeine can cause irritability, anxiety, an increase in heart rate and insomnia.
CalciumCalcium (Ca) is a mineral that can occur naturally in foods. Calcium is the most common mineral in the human body and it is one of the key minerals we need in our diet. It is essential for bone growth and strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction, helping your digestive enzymes work properly and the sending of nerve signals.
Carbohydrate

A carbohydrate is an organic compound comprising only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrate values may be give as total or available.

  • Total carbohydrate by difference: Calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water, protein, fat, alcohol and ash from 100.
  • Total carbohydrates by summation: Sum of analytical values of sugar, starch, oligosaccharides and fibre.
Carbohydrate exchange

Carbohydrate exchange is the weight (g) of food containing 10 g available carbohydrate.

CarotenoidsCarotenoids are a large family of phytonutrients that provide the yellow, orange and some red colours of plants. They are fat-soluble compounds. Carotenoids can be broadly classified into two groups: carotenes (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene) and xanthophylls (beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin). Some carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, can be converted to vitamin A in our body.
ChlorideChloride (Cl) is a mineral found in table salt or sea salt as sodium chloride. It is also found in many vegetables and some other foods in combination with potassium.
CholecalciferolOne of the two main forms of vitamin D – vitamin D3.
CholesterolCholesterol is a fat-like substance found only in animal foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain no cholesterol. It is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and in circulated in the blood plasma of all mammals.
ChromiumChromium (Cr) is a mineral we only need in trace amounts and it helps your body metabolise macronutrients.
Citric acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
CobaltCobalt (Co) is a mineral that we need in trace amounts.
CopperCopper (Cu) is an essential mineral for human life but we only need it in trace amounts. Copper has a whole range of functions because it is a component of many important enzymes. It is important for growth in children, aids the development of connective tissue in joints, is necessary for energy production, helps in the metabolism of iron and helps keep your immune system healthy.
CystineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Daily IntakeDaily Intakes (DIs) are a set of reference values for a variety of nutrients, as well as energy. These nutrients include carbohydrates, sugars, protein, fat, saturated fat, fibre and sodium. The DI values are based on an average adult diet of 8700kJ, which is the daily requirement for an average adult. As different nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat and fibre) contribute different amounts of energy, to get 100% of the Daily Intake for energy, you need a balance of these nutrients. It is important to remember that DIs are not recommendations, they simply provide a benchmark suitable for the majority of people. Energy and nutrient intakes vary from person to person depending on gender, age, weight and differing levels of activity. Very active people may have higher requirements, whereas children may have lower requirements.
Dehydroascorbic acidAn oxidized form of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Delta-tocopherolOne of the forms of vitamin E. δ-tocopherol is less active than α-tocophenol and to convert to α-tocophenol equivalents is multiplied by 0.01.
Dietary fibreDietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by our bodies' enzymes. Fibre is only found in plants and is present in two forms – soluble and insoluble. The New Zealand Food Composition Database uses the Prosky method of analysis for total dietary fibre (AOAC 991.43) as prescribed by FSANZ for the purpose of food labelling. Note data entered prior to 2006 does not use this method so may be inaccurate for food labelling purposes.
Dietary folate equivalents (DFE)In the New Zealand Food Composition Database folate data is provided as DFEs as well as naturally occurring folates and folic acid. DFE is calculated by summing naturally occurring food folates plus folic acids multiplied by 1.67.
DisaccharidesA disaccharide (also called a double sugar or biose) is the sugar formed when two monosaccharides are joined together. In the New Zealand Food Composition Database they are calculated by summing of lactose, maltose and sucrose. They may also be expressed as monosaccharide equivalents.
Dry matterThe part of a food which would remain if all its water content was removed.
Edible portionUsed in food composition tables to indicate that the data refer to the part of the food that is usually eaten (e.g. excluding skin or pips of fruit and vegetables, bones in meat and fish).
ElectrolyteAn electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body and these electrical impulses enable your cells to send messages back and forth between themselves. The electrolytes that are the most important in nutrition are sodium and potassium but calcium, magnesium and phosphate are also involved.
Energy

We get the energy we need from the following food components: carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as from organic acids, polyols, and alcohol. In FOODfiles™ 2016 Version 01, the energy values are calculated in four different ways according to the energy values according to the FAO/INFOODS guidelines (FAO/INFOODS 2012) and Standard 1.2.8 (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2013). The energy values can be expressed as either kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ). The values are calculated from the energy-producing food components (carbohydrate, available; protein; fat, total; and alcohol) with and without dietary fibre and other energy producing food components, using the appropriate energy conversion factors. Which data you use will depend on its purpose. For labelling purposes the FSANZ data should be used. The calculations for various energy values are as follows: 

Energy based on FAO/INFOODS

  • Energy, total metabolisable: Energy, total metabolisable is calculated from the values of energy-producing food components and appropriate conversion factors. The energy-producing food components taken into account are: protein; available carbohydrates by weight; fat, total; and alcohol.
  • Energy, total metabolisable (including dietary fibre): Energy, total metabolisable (including dietary fibre) is calculated from the energy-producing food components and appropriate conversion factors. The energy-producing food components taken into account are: protein; available carbohydrates by weight; fat, total; alcohol and fibre, total dietary.

Energy based on FSANZ Standard 1.2.8

  • Energy, total metabolisable, carbohydrate by difference: The FSANZ value is calculated according to Standard 1.2.8. The energy-producing food components taken into account are: protein; carbohydrates by difference; fat, total; alcohol, dietary fibre and organic acids.
  • Energy, total metabolisable, available carbohydrates: The FSANZ value is calculated according to Standard 1.2.8. The energy-producing food components taken into account are: protein; available carbohydrates; fat, total; alcohol, dietary fibre and organic acids.
ErgocalciferolOne of the two main forms of vitamin D – vitamin D2.
Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake (ESADDI)ESADDIs are used for some nutrients where there is insufficient evidence to develop a recommended dietary intake (RDI). They are what is considered a safe intake level.
Excellent sourceThis is a nutrient content claim under FSANZ regulations. At present only dietary fibre can make an ‘excellent source of’ claim and to make this a food must contain at least 7 g of dietary fibre.
Fat

Fat is one of the three main macronutrients, along with carbohydrate and protein. Fats are made up of fatty acid and the alcohol glycerol. The main types of fat are saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fats. Fat is essential for supplying the body with omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, producing healthy cell membranes and maximising the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Fat is found in many foods and comes from both animal and vegetable sources.

Fat to total fatty acid conversion factorsTotal fatty acids may be calculated by multiplying total fat with fat to total fatty acid conversion factors. Values are recorded in the literature and the conversion factors used for each food are can be found in FOODfiles™ 2016.
Fatty acidsA component of fat consisting of a chain of a hydrocarbon with a methyl group at one end and a carboxyl group at the other. The three main types of fatty acids in the diet are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These classifications depend on the presence or absence of double bonds on the carbon molecules. Saturated fatty acids contain no double bond, monounsaturated fatty acids contain one double bond per molecule, and polyunsaturated fatty acids contain more than one double bond per molecule. Fatty acids can be further subdivided into groups, e.g. omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. In general, saturated fats tend to be solid while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to form oils. Total fatty acids can be determined in two ways: 1) analytically and 2) using fat to total fatty acid conversion factors. The conversion factors used for each food are can be found in the unabridged data files of FOODfiles™ 2016 V 01. If a fat to fatty acid conversion factor is listed for a food, the total fatty acid value has been calculated and if a value is not listed (left as blank) then the total fatty acids has been determined analytically.
Fibresee dietary fibre.
FluorideFluoride (F) is a mineral we need in trace amounts. It isn’t present in many foods and the main sources are water supply and dental products, such as fluoride toothpastes.
FolateFolate is an essential B vitamin (vitamin B9) one of the water-soluble B group vitamins. It is found naturally in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, wholemeal bread, yeast, liver and legumes. Folic acid refers to pteroylmonoglutamic acid and is the synthetic ('man made') form of folate. Folic acid, the more stable form, occurs rarely in foods but is the form most often used in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid is the form linked to reducing the risk of neural tube defects. Naturally occurring folates have various roles in your body, in particular helping to form red blood cells and supporting a healthy immune system.
Folic acidThe synthetic ('man made') form of folate.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)FSANZ develops food standards for food available in Australia and New Zealand.
FructoseThis is also known as fruit sugar and is a monosaccharide, which are available carbohydrates.
Gamma-tocopherolOne of the forms of vitamin E. γ-tocopherol is less active than α-tocophenol and to convert to α-tocophenol equivalents is multiplied by 0.1.
GlucoseA common monosaccharide, which are available carbohydrates.
Glutamic acidOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
GlycineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
GlycogenGlycogen is a polysaccharide and is a readily mobilized storage form of glucose.
Good sourceThis is a nutrient content claim under FSANZ regulations. These claims will need to meet certain criteria set out in FSANZ Standard 1.2.7. For example, most vitamins and minerals need to be present at a minimum of 25% of the RDI or ESADDI per serve, dietary fibre must be at least 4 g per serve and protein at 10 g per serve.
HistidineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
HydroxyprolineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Insoluble fibreThis type of dietary fibre does not dissolve in water, is metabolically inert and provides bulking, or it can be fermented in the large intestine. Bulking fibres absorb water as they move through the digestive system, easing defecation.
IodideIodide (I) is a mineral that we need in trace amounts. It plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones and is also important for the brain and healthy skin.
IronIron (Fe) is an essential mineral. It is one of the key minerals we need in our diet. Iron is found in two forms in your diet (heme iron and non-heme iron). Heme iron comes from animal flesh and is more easily absorbed by your body. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and dairy products. Vitamin C helps you absorb non-heme iron. Iron is a key component of red blood cells and many enzymes that play a vital role in the production of energy. A healthy immune system also requires sufficient iron.
IsoleucineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Lactic acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
LactoseAlso known as milk sugar lactose is a disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose.
LeadLead (Pb) is a mineral that can be toxic. It is not generally present in foods at concentrations to cause concern.
LeucineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
LithiumLithium (Li) is a mineral present in very small amounts in some foods.
LuteinOne of the carotenoids. Unlike alpha- and beta-carotene lutein does not have vitamin A activity.
LycopeneOne of the carotenoids. Unlike alpha- and beta-carotene lycopene does not have vitamin A activity.
LysineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
MacronutrientsThere are the nutrients needed in the largest amounts: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Macronutrients provide energy as well as carrying out other essential functions for good health.
MagnesiumMagnesium (Mg) is a mineral. It is one of the key minerals we need in our diet. It plays important roles in the structure and the function of your body. In particular it helps with heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function and teeth and bone strength.
Malic acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
MaltodextrinA carbohydrate produced by the hydrolysis of starch.
MaltoseAlso known as malt sugar maltose is a disaccharide composed of two glucose molecules joined together.
Manganese

Manganese (Mn) is a mineral that is both nutritionally essential and potentially toxic. It is important for forming bones and connective tissue and is a component of some enzymes.

MenaquinoneOne of the two main forms of vitamin K – vitamin K2.
MercuryMercury (Hg) is a mineral that can be toxic. The main source is fish & shellfish. While fish can also contain some mercury it is still possible to enjoy the health benefits of eating fish and keep the exposure to mercury within safe limits.
MethionineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
MicronutrientsThere are the nutrients needed in smaller amounts and include vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients don’t act as an energy source like macronutrients do, but do help ensure the body operates effectively.
MineralsMinerals are nutritionally significant elements (elements are composed of only one kind of atom, e.g. Fe). Minerals are inorganic, this means they do not contain any carbon atoms.
MolybdenumMolybdenum (Mo) is a mineral needed in trace amounts. It is a cofactor for a number of enzymes and important for metabolism of protein.
Monosaccharide equivalentsA carbohydrate value may be expressed as a quantity of carbohydrate or as a quantity of its monosaccharide equivalent. There are published conversion factors to convert disaccharides, polysachharides and starch to monosaccharide equivalents (these can be found in the FOODfiles™ manual).
MonosaccharidesMonosaccharides are simple sugars and consist of one sugar unit that cannot be further broken down into simpler sugars. Examples of monosaccharides in foods are glucose, fructose and galactose.
Monounsaturated fatty acidA type of unsaturated fatty acid in which there is one double bond. Dietary sources include olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanuts, peanut oil, almonds, avocados, meat from grass-fed animals, and some margarines and spreads.
NiacinAnother name for vitamin B3, one of the water-soluble B group vitamins. Niacin helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also assists in your digestion and the conversion of food into energy.
Niacin equivalentsNiacin intakes and requirements are often expressed as niacin equivalents where 1 mg niacin equivalent is equal to 1 mg niacin or 60 mg tryptophan.
NickelNickel (Ni) is a mineral needed in extremely small amounts and is both essential and toxic for humans.
Nitrogen

Nitrogen (N) is an element that is a major component of protein. Protein content of foods is calculated from total nitrogen.

Nitrogen to protein conversion factorFor all foods protein content is calculated from total nitrogen value based on published nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors. The conversion factor used for each food is tabulated in the FOODfiles™ 2016.
NutrientA nutrient is a substance that is required for growth or metabolism of living creatures. Plants absorb nutrients mainly from the soil in the form of minerals and other inorganic compounds, and we obtain nutrients from foods that we eat. Nutrients needed in very small amounts are called micronutrients and those that are needed in larger quantities are called macronutrients. The effects of nutrients are dose-dependent and shortages are called deficiencies. A nutrient is said to be "essential" when it must be obtained from food, either because we cannot synthesize it or our body cannot produce sufficient quantities. Essential nutrients have a recommended dietary intake (RDI). Nutrients are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks amino acids), vitamins and minerals. In addition to nutrients there are numerous other dietary compounds that promote health by enhancing quality of life or extending lifespan by reducing disease risk. Those compounds that are produced by plants are called phytonutrients.
Nutrient content claimThese are voluntary statements made by food businesses on labels and in advertising about a food. Nutrient content claims tell you about the nutritional property of a food (e.g. good source of vitamin C, low in fat). These claims can indicate the presence or absence of a particular nutrient in the food and they can also indicate the amount. These claims will need to meet certain criteria set out in FSANZ Standard 1.2.7.
Nutrient Information Panel (NIP)The NIP provides information about core nutrients (i.e. energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, and carbohydrate), vitamins and minerals in food. The NIP must be presented in a standard format which shows the average amount per serve and per 100 g. Information can also be presented on Daily Intakes (DI) and Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI). FSANZ Standard 1.2.8 (Nutrition Information Requirements) prescribes when nutritional information must be provided, and the manner in which such information is provided.
Omega-3 fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a double bond at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain (n-3). The three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in plant oils), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (both commonly found in marine oils).
Omega-6 fatty acidsA family of polyunsaturated fatty acids that have in common a double bond at the sixth carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain (n-6). Most omega-6 fatty acids in the diet come from vegetable oils, such as linoleic acid (not to be confused with alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid). Linoleic acid is one of many essential fatty acids and is categorized as an essential fatty acid because the human body cannot synthesize it.
Organic acidsAn organic acid is an organic compound with acidic properties. Key examples present in some foods include acetic acid in vinegar, citric acid in citrus fruits and lactic acid in yoghurt and other fermented dairy foods. Organic acids are converted into energy in our body. Although they are not a major source of energy in the diet there are a few foods where they do make a significant contribution.
Oxalic acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
Pantothenic acidPantothenic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin and is the common name for vitamin B5. It is found throughout living cells and is a vital coenzyme in numerous chemical reactions in your body. Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food and also plays a role in the production of hormones, some neurotransmitters and cholesterol.
PhenylalanineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
PhosphorusPhosphorus (P) is one of the key minerals we need in our diet. Phosphorus is important for bone growth and around 85% of your body's phosphorus is found in bone. It is also important to help our body produce energy.
PhylloquinoneOne of the two main forms of vitamin K – vitamin K3.
PhytosterolsPhytosterols occur only in plants and include plant sterols and stanols. They are similar to cholesterol.
PolysaccharidesPolysaccharides are complex carbohydrates, composed of 10 to up to several thousand monosaccharides (simple sugars) arranged in chains.
Polyunsaturated fatty acidA polyunsaturated fatty acid is an unsaturated fatty acid with two or more double bonds. Dietary sources include most plant oils, particularly sunflower, soybean, safflower and corn, as well as most margarines and spreads.
PotassiumPotassium (K) is a mineral that has an important role as an electrolyte. An electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body and these electrical impulses enable your cells to send messages back and forth between themselves. Your body maintains a balance between sodium and potassium (less sodium, more potassium). This balance plays a vital role in regulating the fluid levels in your body. Potassium is also important for nerve and muscle function.
ProlineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
ProteinProtein is one of the proximate components of foods. Proteins are essential building blocks of life. Our body needs protein from food for energy to repair and maintain itself. Protein is particularly important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy. It is made up of 20 amino acids, some of which our body can make and others we have to obtain from food. Protein is found in both animal and plant foods. The protein content of a food is determined using the nitrogen content of that same food, using established nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors (Greenfield & Southgate, 2003 and USDA, 2010). Nitrogen has generally been determined by the Kjeldhal nitrogen technique.
ProximatesProximate analysis in the food science context usually involves the determination of a number of key components and is usually done to estimate the chemical composition of foods. Total proximates is calculated by summing protein, total fat; water, dietary fibre, alcohol and available carbohydrate (by weight). The sum of proximates should fall within a range of 95–105 g per 100 g edible portion. A margin of plus or minus 5% is considered acceptable because many of the food components are determined independently on different samples in different laboratories.
Quinic acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
Recommended dietary intake (RDI)The average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the needs of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group, including a margin of safety.
Resistant starchResistant starches are starch molecules that resist digestion, functioning more like dietary fibre than standard starch.
RetinolRetinol is the preformed form of vitamin A.
Retinol equivalents (RE)The way that the recommendation for vitamin A intake is expressed (micrograms of retinol equivalents). Retinol equivalents account for the conversion of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, to retinol. For FSANZ labelling purposes total vitamin A activity = retinol (μg) plus 1/12th multiplied by beta carotene equivalent (μg). Currently in the New Zealand Food Composition Database total vitamin A activity = retinol (μg) plus 1/6th multiplied by beta carotene equivalent (μg).
RiboflavinThe common name for vitamin B2, one of the water-soluble B group vitamins. In your body, riboflavin is primarily found as a component of coenzymes and works with the other B vitamins. Riboflavin is important for your body's growth, the production of red blood cells and healthy vision.
RubidiumRubidium (Rb) is a rare trace mineral only present in some foods in small amounts.
Saturated fatty acidA fatty acid in which there are no double bonds between the carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. Diets high in saturated fatty acids increase the risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Found in animal products such as milk, cream, butter, cheese and meat, but they can also be obtained from palm and coconut oil (used in manufactured foods such as pies, biscuits, cakes and pastries).
SeleniumSelenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral, although it is toxic at high concentrations. New Zealand soils are low in selenium and hence produce grown here is low compared with some imported foods. You need selenium for the function of a number of enzymes, also known as selenoproteins. Selenium is important for the immune system and healthy hair and nails. It is an important part of your body's antioxidant systems to protect cells from damage.
SerineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
SiliconSilicon (Si) is a mineral that is not thought to be essential, but may play some role in bone health.
SodiumSodium (Na) is most commonly found in food as salt (sodium chloride) and is a mineral that plays an important role in our body and is one of the key minerals we need in our diet. Although it is essential for life it is important not to have too much as excess salt can cause health problems (e.g. increase blood pressure and inhibit the proper absorption of nutrients). Sodium plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction of muscle fibres. Along with potassium, it is essential for maintaining a proper fluid balance in and around your cells. It takes very little sodium to achieve this.
Soluble fibreThis type of fibre dissolves in water, is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active by-products that may help keep your gut healthy. It can also attract water and turns to gel during digestion, which can slow digestion.
SourceIn a nutritional context a source claim is a nutrient content claim under FSANZ regulations. These claims will need to meet certain criteria set out in FSANZ Standard 1.2.7. For example, most vitamins and minerals need to be present at a minimum of 10% of the RDI or ESADDI per serve, dietary fibre must be at least 2 g per serve and protein 5 g per serve.
StarchStarch is made up of a chain of glucose units (sugar) linked together and is one of the main groups of available carbohydrates in our diet. This polysaccharide is produced by most plants as energy storage. It is present in large amounts in staple foods like potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, corn, yams and grains. In most cases starch breaks down into glucose in your body, providing a more gradual energy source for your bodily processes than simple carbohydrates, such as refined sugar. However, there is a special category of resistant starches that act more like soluble fibre.
Succinic acidAn organic acid. Organic acids contribute to energy intake.
SucroseSucrose is a chemical name for table sugar. It is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose.
SugarsThese are available carbohydrates that our body uses for energy. They can be categorised into monosaccharides (single sugars) and disaccharides (two sugar units linked together). Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. For the New Zealand Food Composition Database total sugars are the sum of individual mono- and disaccharides. Total sugars can also be expressed in monosaccharide equivalents and is calculated by summing the free monosaccharide and disaccharides expressed in monosaccharide equivalents.
SulphurSulphur (S) is a mineral non thought to be essential.
TaurineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
ThiaminThe common name for vitamin B1 one of the water-soluble B group vitamins that occurs in as free thiamin and as various phosphorylated forms. Thiamin helps your body change carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
ThreonineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
TinTin (Sn) is a mineral non thought to be essential is more often considered mildly toxic.
TocopherolTocopherols are a group of compounds that have vitamin E activity. Each form of tocopherol differs in its activity. Vitamin E = (alpha tocopherol x 1.0) + (beta tocopherol x 0.4) + (gamma tocopherol x 0.1) + (delta tocopherol x 0.01).
Trans fatty acids (TFAs)A class of unsaturated fatty acid having a trans arrangement of the carbon atoms adjacent to its double bonds. They occur both naturally in foods and can be formed or added to foods during manufacture. Naturally occurring TFAs are found in some animal products including butter, cheese and meat. Manufactured TFAs (also known as artificial TFAs) are formed when liquid vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated or ‘hardened’ during processing to create spreads such as margarine, cooking fats for deep-frying and shortening for baking. Some TFAs are also formed during high temperature cooking. Consumption of such acids is thought to increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
TryptophanOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
TyrosineOne of the amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Unsaturated fatty acidA fatty acid that contains one or more double bonds is described as unsaturated, as spare bonds remain available to make new chemical links. If the carbon chain contains only one double bond, the molecule is classed as a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). If there are two or more double bonds, the molecule is referred to as a poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Unsaturated fats are further classified according to the position of their first double bond, counting from the omega (methyl) end of the molecule. For example: • Omega 3: If the first bond involves the third carbon atom, the unsaturated fat is classed as an omega-3. These always have more than one double bond so are polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. alpha-linolenic acid). • Omega-6: If the first double bond involves the 6th carbon atom, the fatty acid is classed as an omega-6. These always have more than one double bond, and are known as omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid). • Omega-9: If the first double bond involves the 9th carbon atom, it is classed as an omega-9. As these only have one double bond, omega-9s are also monounsaturated fatty acids (e.g. oleic acid).
ValineOne of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
VanadiumVanadium (V) is a mineral. There is a debate as to whether vanadium is an essential trace mineral in human nutrition.
Vitamin AVitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids. Retinol and retinal are often referred to as preformed vitamin A. Beta-carotene and some other carotenoids that can be converted into retinol are termed provitamin A carotenoids. There are hundreds of different carotenoids present in plants, but only a small percentage of them are provitamin A carotenoids. Beta-carotene is the most predominant provitamin A carotenoid, other forms include alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Vitamin A is necessary for normal vision and it also helps form and maintain healthy soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system.
Vitamin B1Commonly known as thiamin.
Vitamin B12Also called cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B12 is only produced by bacteria and can be found naturally in animal products. Vitamin B12 exists in several forms and contains the mineral cobalt. Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
Vitamin B2Commonly known as riboflavin.
Vitamin B3Commonly known as niacin.
Vitamin B5Commonly known as pantothenic acid.
Vitamin B6Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is a group of water-soluble compounds that occur in three main active coenzyme forms. Vitamin B6 helps your body form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in your body.
Vitamin B7Commonly known as biotin.
Vitamin B9The B group vitamin known as folate.
Vitamin CAlso referred to as ascorbic acid. Some animals can make their own vitamin C, but people must get this vitamin from food and other sources. Good sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and it promotes healthy teeth and gums. It also helps the body absorb iron, maintain healthy tissue and assists with wound healing.
Vitamin DKnown as the 'sunshine vitamin' since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D. It is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. There are two main forms of vitamin D: vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous, which you need for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. Other health benefits of vitamin D include muscle function and regulation of the immune response.
Vitamin EA fat-soluble group of vitamins: four tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-) and four tocotrienols (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-). Alpha-tocopherol is the form of vitamin E that is preferentially absorbed and accumulated in the body. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells against damage and is important for growth.
Vitamin KA fat-soluble vitamin that naturally occurs in two main forms: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is synthesized by plants and is the predominant form in the diet. Vitamin K2 comes from animal sources and is made by the bacteria in your intestine. Vitamin K helps blood stick together (coagulate) and is also important for growth and the development of healthy bones.
VitaminsVitamins are organic (carbon-containing) compounds necessary for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 essential vitamins are: biotin, folate (folic acid), niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in our body's fatty tissue. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. The remaining nine vitamins are water-soluble and apart from vitamin B12 our body does not store them so they must be consumed regularly. Excess water-soluble vitamins leave the body through the urine (hence there is limited value in consuming large amounts in supplements). Some vitamins are more stable (less affected by cooking/processing) than others. Water-soluble vitamins (B-group and C) are more unstable than fat-soluble vitamins (K, A, D and E) during cooking, food processing and storage. The most unstable vitamins include: folate, thiamin and vitamin C. More stable vitamins include: niacin, vitamin K, vitamin D, biotin and pantothenic acid.
WaterWater is critical to life and without it you would only survive a few days. About two thirds of your body weight is water. Every organ in your body needs water to function properly. Water transports nutrients around the body, eliminates waste products via the kidneys, regulates body temperature through sweating and reduces constipation. Even mild dehydration can lead to problems such as headaches, dizziness, tiredness or difficulty concentrating. Although other fluids can be counted as part of your daily fluid intake, water is the preferred option.
ZeaxanthinOne of the carotenoids. Unlike alpha- and beta-carotene zeaxanthin does not have vitamin A activity.
ZincZinc (Zn) is a trace mineral essential for human health. It plays important roles in growth and development, the immune response, neurological function, and reproduction. It is also necessary for wound healing, healthy bones, hair and nails, and the maintenance of normal vision.