Suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers of packaged food items must stay compliant with food and trade laws. However, the question is what criteria have to be fulfilled to supply healthy food to the market. Here comes the role of nutrition analysis, which refers to determining the nutritional content present in any food. It is an essential part of analytical chemistry. The nutrient analysis highlights the chemical processing, composition, quality control, and extent of food contamination.
Overview of Nutritional Analysis
Nutrition analysis consists of calculating the nutritional content of various types of packaged or unpackaged foods. In most cases, experts analyze to find calorie contents. However, the analysis identifies minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Types of Nutrients to Analyze in Food Items
Food safety and health experts apply nutritional analysis abilities in an extensive range and include a wide variety of nutrients, which are the following-
Healthy and Unhealthy Fats
Here, the analysis gives results based on polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, and trans-fats in foods. Besides, it also calculates the extent of omega 3 and omega 6 healthy fat contents.
Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals
Proteins are not only essential for athletes but other people as well. Hence, protein analysis forms an essential part of the analysis of nutrients. Moreover, the human body cannot produce vitamins and minerals on its own. FSSAI thus recommends analyzing the percentage of vitamins (vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K) and minerals present in packed and unpacked foods. In some cases, the nutritional analysis identifies trace metals or trace elements.
Carbohydrates, Salt and Dietary Fiber
Whether the food is for kids or adults, it must essentially contain healthy carbohydrates. Hence, analysis of nutrients also includes finding the sources and percentage of carbohydrates. These include starch, sugars, polyols, insulin, and polysaccharides.
Similar to carbohydrates, the concentration of salt in a portion of food determines whether it is healthy or not. The nutritional analysis also includes detecting the percentage of salt. Other than that, nutritionists use the AOAC method to calculate the presence of dietary fiber in foods.
The analysis of nutrients involves detecting organic acids and additives. Here, organic acids are lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, and additives are antioxidants, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, colors, stabilizers, and gels.
Certified Methods to Analyze Nutrients
Here, food companies have to send food samples to different laboratories to conduct physical analyses. Experts involved in nutrition analysis apply scientific methods and use different equipment to analyze the food sample for diverse components. A prime benefit of laboratory analysis is that it measures the appropriate nutrition levels in prepared foods. Indeed, one can get a high accuracy level of the analyzed food. The method aims to track changes in various nutritional values, which occur while processing and cooking foods. Lab analysis has a high value, as calories fluctuate according to the adopted cooking method.
Nutrient Analysis Software
Nutrient analysis software allows users to determine nutrients present in any food utilizing the software. However, the analysis quality depends primarily on the standard and accuracy of recipes. Standardized recipes refer to the ones, which foodservice operations adapt and retrieve for their applications. While using the same quality and quantity of ingredients in standard recipes, the nutrient analysis software gives the same results.
Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy
The method of Laser Scanning Con-focal Microscopy analyzes food samples in combination with their physical and chemical analyses. LSCM nutrition analysis focuses on the illumination of specific positions of a particular food sample. A small portion of a food sample illuminates at one time to boost the contrast and reduce the blur out of the focus. One can look at sample images individually or group them to create a 3D image by using image analysis software. The observation of small food sample sections allows analysts to get an insight into the three-dimensional structure of a product.
The mass spectrometry method separates molecules and ionized atoms based on their difference in the ratio of mass to charge.
Overall, food nutrient analysis focuses on the total nutritional value of a product, its additional materials, and any type of toxic component. With proper analysis of nutrients, food manufacturing and supplying companies can enhance the structure and quality of food.