Tag Archives | data integrity

Food Files

CANDAT uses as its Master file the Canadian Food file. This Master file is included with CANDAT. CANDAT can also accommodate a second or alternate Master food file (such as the USDA Handbook #8 file).

  1. Food code: The code structure used is identical to that used by the Canadian food file. An extra zero has been added to the end of the 6 digit code to allow the institute and user files to fold new food codes into the same code areas as that of the Master food file.
  2. Tier Structure: CANDAT has a three tiered food file structure. The first tier contains the Master food file. CANDAT does not allow direct changes to be made to this file. The next tier contains the Institute file. There is only one such file and CANDAT is installed with this file empty. The third tier contains the User food files. There can be any number of User food files though only one can be active at a time.
    The concept of the three tier system also allows an institution to define values for foods to be used in analysis by all its users. Values the institution may consider less accurate than desired in the Master food file can be entered and used from the Institute food file. The food information is copied completely from the Master file and stored in the Institute file where it can be changed, under password control, by the manager of the system.
    The same concept applies to the User food file in relation to both the Master food file and the Institute food file. When CANDAT needs food information it first looks to the User food file, then to the Institute file and finally, to the Master food file. Identical food codes are used at each tier so that finding the food has the effect of masking the level(s) above it.

University of Guelph

I have used Candat for many years for the analysis of 24 hour recall data, and for the development and subsequent analysis of food frequency questionnaires for two different studies. The range of analytic options provided by Candat, and the fact that it is based on the latest version of the Canadian Nutrient File, are key features.
Assistance with the development of FFQs and translation of responses into the format that can be analyzed with Candat is available on an as needed and timely basis. Response is usually within 24 hours. And, there is no problem asking for help.
I have used Candat for years because of GLI’s knowledge and continuous efforts to make the software ever more powerful.

Susan Evers PhD
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1

First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study

We are a multi-organization research team (University of Northern British Columbia, University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Assembly of First Nations and Health Canada) that has used CANDAT since 2008. So far, we have used CANDAT to enter over 5000 single and repeated recalls. The software is easy to learn and use. One of our students doing data entry mentioned that CANDAT was easier and more friendly to use than another program he had been using. We are able to incorporate traditional foods and recipes from our study easily into the database. The software developer is always open to suggestions from CANDAT users to facilitate data entry, such as viewing the food description when reviewing data entry and automatic repeat of past key word searches. Above all, the technical support provided by Godin London Incorporated (Gaetan) is always top-notch. He is prompt to answer questions and to solve problems. Recently, we requested a new feature which would enable users to view the food description when reviewing data entry and they were able to do this within a few days. Also, when validation of a dietary file with a more recent version of the Canadian Nutrient File was needed, they were able to write a program that allowed the file to be imported back into CANDAT (from SAS).

This was all done under the no-charge support provided with all CANDAT licences. I would highly recommend CANDAT to any nutrition researcher. Gaetan always strives to adapt CANDAT’s capabilities to suit its users.

Amy Ing, M.Sc.
Data Analyst
First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study


Food nutrition research is a great source of data. In no time thousands and thousands of values can be generated and fed into a statistics program. Every nutrient is a variable. Other variables identify subjects, date, day of the week, height, weight, etc. All one needs to add to this is something which identifies the type of subject. Are the subjects just normal, overweight, diabetic, athletic, have cancer or some other illness, again, etc…?

There are good statistical packages into which data can be fed. SPSS, SAS come to mind immediately. There are also open source (read free) packages that can be used as well.

For students in nutrition wanting to explore research a good nutrient calculation software combined with a good statistical package is a must.

Teachers can also use these as the basis of a multi-term course in nutrition research.

All kinds of questions about nutrition need to be explained and clarified when one is doing research. There is no room for ambivalence.

Enjoy! it is a truly challenging field.

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