Nutritional value

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As nutritional value refers to the physiological value of food , depending on the amount and ratio of its ingredients and their availability for the human organism .

The nutritional value is not a completely objectifiable parameter, since the availability and utilization of the substances in particular depends on the preparation and combination of the foods, and because the nutritional evaluation of individual ingredients is not guaranteed.

Main components of the nutritional value of a food are the three so-called macronutrients carbohydrates , fats , proteins, and which, when digestive usable energy ( physiological fuel value ). In addition, numerous micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals (bulk and trace elements) as well as secondary plant substances play a role.


The term quantitative nutritional value describes the usable energy as such, as it is determined in the physiological calorific value . According to the Food Information Ordinance (LMIV), the value must be specified in kilojoules (kJ) per 100 g. The outdated designation kilocalories (kcal) is only permitted additionally in the movement of goods within the EU. The kilocalorie is colloquially - again incorrectly - often referred to only as "calorie".

In contrast, the qualitative nutritional value describes other properties such as the amount and composition of the substances contained in a food. The quantity is given in grams (g) or milligrams (mg).


Fats are assessed differently in terms of their physiological effect , depending on their composition and the content of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids .

To evaluate the protein quality ( biological value ), the ratio of the essential amino acids in a food is analyzed. The value of the protein quality provides information about the usability of protein to build up the body's own protein.

The still largely unexplored nutrients include the secondary plant substances from vegetables, fruits and cereals. The effects of these substances on the organism seem diverse and promising.

Origin and Analysis

In Germany, nutritional values ​​of food are kept in a database, the federal food key. The federal food key is administered by the Max Rubner Institute in Karlsruhe.

Use (examples)

The indication of the nutritional values ​​of foods has been mandatory in the Food Information Regulation (LMIV) since December 13, 2014 (for details on the regulations of the LMIV, see there).

Nutritional information is required to analyze consumption logs to study the nutrient intake of individuals or groups. A current example of such a survey is the National Consumption Study II (NVS II), summarized in the nutrition report.

See also


  • Ibrahim Elmadfa, Waltraute Aign, Erich Muskat, Doris Fritzsche: The large GU nutritional value calorie table 2010/2011 . Gräfe and Unzer Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 3-8338-1664-3 .
  • SW Souci, W. Expert, H. Kraut: The composition of the food nutritional value tables . 7th edition, MedPharm Scientific Publishers, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8047-5038-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard Watzl: Secondary plant substances - a lot helps a lot? , Ernahrung Umschau 8/08, 486–487 online
  2. Max Rubner Institute: Federal Food Key  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed January 28, 2010@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. German Society for Nutrition: Nutrition Report . Bonn 2008