where to find accurate nutrition (calories, protein, carbs etc.)?

I'm finding a big difference between nutrition data online versus what's on a "Nutrition facts" labels. I typically use http://www.whfoods.org as my source of nutrition info when there is no nutrition label on certain foods (like nuts, seeds, fruit and veggies etc.).
Unfortunately I am now finding the data from that website, which uses some pretty impressive tools to arrive at their data, has me questioning actual values.

For instance I am holding a bag of raw shelled organic pumpkin seeds. There is no oil, salt or preservatives The nutrition label states 1/4 cup serving contains 300 calories. The Whole Foods website states the same serving amount for the exact same item has 180 calories (their data matches the USDA website)...MFP states 160 calories yet MedicalNewsToday states 127 calories for 3 times the amount.

So if this is the case as I am finding with many foods, which do you believe? So far the label on the package is clearly wrong but then it begs the question that if the Nutrition profile on a food is inaccurate how do we really know how many calories we are actually consuming?

So frustrating!

Replies

  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    I go with the USDA website.

    The caloric value stated of 180 calories for a serving of seeds sounds about right, given my experience.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,646 Member
    I go with the label. Sometimes companies change formulations and then the nutritional information changes.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,832 Member
    edited November 2018
    Well the seeds may be that different because one entry may be in the shells and the other may be out of the shells (kernels only.) You do have to be cautious and read the descriptor.

    I also use the USDA nutrition database to vet foods. Also, "1/4 cup" could hold 45 grams or more. I weigh the food to the standard serving size - which is usually 28g-30g for nuts and seeds.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    I go with the label. Sometimes companies change formulations and then the nutritional information changes.

    I do this for packaged foods like pasta or vegetarian "meat" products, because you're right, the formulas change.

    For things like produce, nuts, seeds, oils? I check with USDA standard data base entries.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,646 Member
    edited November 2018
    I go with the label. Sometimes companies change formulations and then the nutritional information changes.

    I do this for packaged foods like pasta or vegetarian "meat" products, because you're right, the formulas change.

    For things like produce, nuts, seeds, oils? I check with USDA standard data base entries.

    Aren't they packaged seeds? 🤔 I use USDA site for anything without a barcode or a nutritional label. Otherwise, I use the label.

    ETA- Either way, 1/4 cup is not an accurate measurement. Grams would be better.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,899 Member
    edited November 2018
    Dilvish wrote: »
    I'm finding a big difference between nutrition data online versus what's on a "Nutrition facts" labels. I typically use http://www.whfoods.org as my source of nutrition info when there is no nutrition label on certain foods (like nuts, seeds, fruit and veggies etc.).
    Unfortunately I am now finding the data from that website, which uses some pretty impressive tools to arrive at their data, has me questioning actual values.

    For instance I am holding a bag of raw shelled organic pumpkin seeds. There is no oil, salt or preservatives The nutrition label states 1/4 cup serving contains 300 calories. The Whole Foods website states the same serving amount for the exact same item has 180 calories (their data matches the USDA website)...MFP states 160 calories yet MedicalNewsToday states 127 calories for 3 times the amount.

    So if this is the case as I am finding with many foods, which do you believe? So far the label on the package is clearly wrong but then it begs the question that if the Nutrition profile on a food is inaccurate how do we really know how many calories we are actually consuming?

    So frustrating!

    First of all, MFP doesn't say anything. MFP has a bunch of different entries for most foods, some from the USDA (those are the good entries to look for) and some that are user entered. Many of the user-entered entries are bad for one reason or another.

    Second, for whole, non-packaged foods I always use the USDA information. If WHFoods is consistently the same or close, I think that would be a good source too. For packaged foods, I'd use the information on the package, especially if it is substantially more than the USDA (I use USDA for nuts, but I've never bought nuts where the numbers weren't basically the same or close).

    The difference could be size and therefore the weight of a cup or .25 cup or whatever. That is why I also always use weight when possible. Packages should give the weight information as well as volume.

    Btw, the MedicalNewsToday piece specifically refers to in-shell, which of course would have fewer cals by weight or volume than shelled.

    300 cal does seem weird, I'd check by weight, confirm there's nothing added, and maybe email the company or see if you can find the numbers on line, if it's that big a deal.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    I go with the label. Sometimes companies change formulations and then the nutritional information changes.

    I do this for packaged foods like pasta or vegetarian "meat" products, because you're right, the formulas change.

    For things like produce, nuts, seeds, oils? I check with USDA standard data base entries.

    Aren't they packaged seeds? 🤔 I use USDA site for anything without a barcode or a nutritional label. Otherwise, I use the label.

    ETA- Either way, 1/4 cup is not an accurate measurement. Grams would be better.

    Packaged wasn't a good word :) But seeds are seeds. There's no formula to change. He stated that there's no oil added, so...

    I agree on the 1/4 cup, but it's usually around 28-30 grams for a serving of seeds.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,646 Member
    I go with the label. Sometimes companies change formulations and then the nutritional information changes.

    I do this for packaged foods like pasta or vegetarian "meat" products, because you're right, the formulas change.

    For things like produce, nuts, seeds, oils? I check with USDA standard data base entries.

    Aren't they packaged seeds? 🤔 I use USDA site for anything without a barcode or a nutritional label. Otherwise, I use the label.

    ETA- Either way, 1/4 cup is not an accurate measurement. Grams would be better.

    Packaged wasn't a good word :) But seeds are seeds. There's no formula to change. He stated that there's no oil added, so...

    I agree on the 1/4 cup, but it's usually around 28-30 grams for a serving of seeds.

    I've never seen that type of discrepancy between numbers on the package and on the USDA site. To me it seems like a serving size issue. I would use the higher amount imho.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,942 Member
    I would weigh the seeds and use an entry with a weight-based serving size and information that matches the USDA database. Raw shelled seeds with nothing added are not going to vary that much. The manufacturers' label is wrong. Perhaps they gave mistakenly gave information for a half cup of seeds. I do occasionally come across manufacturers' labels that are obviously, even ludicrously wrong.