DINO (Diet In Nutrients Out) - an integrated dietary assessment system

Public Health Nutr. 2015 Feb;18(2):234-41. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014000342. Epub 2014 Mar 27.


Objective: The current paper describes Diet In Nutrients Out (DINO), an integrated dietary assessment system incorporating dietary data entry and nutritional analysis within one platform for use in dietary assessment in small-scale intervention studies to national surveys.

Design: DINO contains >6000 food items, mostly aggregated composites of branded foods, across thirty-one main food groups divided into 151 subsidiary groups for detailed reporting requirements, with fifty-three core nutrient fields.

Setting: MRC Human Nutrition Research (HNR), Cambridge, UK and MRC Keneba, Gambia.

Subjects: DINO is used across dietary assessment projects at HNR and MRC Keneba.

Results: DINO contains macro- and micronutrients as well as additional variables of current research and policy interest, such as caffeine, whole grains, vitamin K and added sugars. Disaggregated data are available for fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese in composite foods, enabling greater accuracy when reporting food consumption or assessing adherence to dietary recommendations. Portion sizes are categorised in metric and imperial weights, with standardised portion sizes for each age group. Regular reviews are undertaken for portion sizes and food composition to ensure contemporary relevance. A training programme and a checking schedule are adhered to for quality assurance purposes, covering users and data. Eating context questions are integrated to record where and with whom the respondent is eating, allowing examination between these factors and the foods consumed.

Conclusions: An up-to-date quality-assured system for dietary assessment is crucial for nutritional surveillance and research, but needs to have the flexibility to be tailored to address specific research questions.

Keywords: Coding; DINO; Dietary assessment; Nutrient analysis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Data Accuracy
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diet*
  • England
  • Food Analysis*
  • Gambia
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Portion Size
  • Quality Control
  • Software
  • Software Design
  • User-Computer Interface