I’ve been working on a databse that I can use for myself that will allow me to track things like high blood pressure, blood sugar, mediations, exercise, meals and foods.

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While looking at my weight, age and the certainty of increasing medical problems, I’ve been working on a database that I can use for myself that will allow me to track things like track high blood pressure, blood sugars, medications, exercise, meals and the specific foods.

While looking at the food section of the database, I decided finally to attack the USDA site and get the food information concerning the RDI requirements. Then start calculating from that information, what percentage of RDI I had reached with each meal and throughout the day. This is going well, as the information is available in the most general way concerning the calculations.

While searching I found two sites that seem to also provide something that is useful. One site: gives you a caloric intake to maintain a certain weight. I discovered that by just changing the weight in the information I would get a different caloric level that could be coupled with the USDA information to help round out some dietary tracking. Your site takes that much further which I was thrilled about.

You’ll probably find me in your database, the 36-year-old, 314 pounds that was entered twice with this date. As I’m sure you’re doing this for a paper or something like that. I did really enjoy the website, very well done!

There are lots of really good, inexpensive software packages (< $60) out there that have huge databases (23,000 foods), including brand name foods not available in the USDA database. You may have had fun setting up yours and your time investment will probably add to your successful weight loss according to research. The off the shelf nutrition software packages have lots of whistles and bells and many issue updates with new databases and features. Some even track blood pressure, blood glucose, and medications as well as diet and exercise. Find software that will track your weight, food intake and energy expenditure including exercise. You can still use your database (or spreadsheet) to track blood pressure, blood sugar or medications. Why not spend your energy on your healthy lifestyle by focusing on your daily food intake and exercise rather than designing and maintaining a database?

RDI is the Reference Daily Intake, which is the same as the old USRDA on the food label. Both are based on the 1968 Recommended Dietary Allowances. In other words, the new RDI recommends the same nutrient levels for all people regardless of age or gender and is used on new food labels as the Percent Daily Value i.e. everyone’s DV for iron is 18 mg. Problem is, you don’t need 18-mg iron because you are a male and in fact, a high iron intake is not recommended for males. The RDA will tell you the specific amounts of nutrients based on your age and gender i.e. you need 10 mg of iron and adult women need 18 mg.

Any comparisons you make between your food intake and the RDI / Daily Values or RDA should be an average over at least 3 – 7 days. Individual meals vary in composition and variety and should not be evaluated out of the context of what you eat on the average.

BTW, I do not store people’s data entered into the Healthy Body Calculator at this time and I am not doing a paper though one would be interesting research.

Thank you for your feedback on Ask the Dietitian®.