DOST-FNRI launches updated nutrition tools

The Department of Science and Technology‘s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) will present its newly updated nutrition tools at the “Grand Launch of 2020: Perfect Vision for Nutrition” on February 19, 2020 at the Makati Diamond Residences, Legaspi Village, Makati City. These nutrition tools include the Philippine Food Composition Tables 2019 and the Food Exchange Lists (FEL) for Meal Planning, 4th edition. The development of these nutrition tools is aimed at improving the quality of life of Filipinos.

The 2019 Philippine Food Composition Tables

The DOST-FNRI, then the Institute of Nutrition (IN), recognized the importance of nutritional content of commonly-consumed foods in the Philippines as the scientific basis for crafting sound programs and policies on food and nutrition since the 1920s. Thus in 1947, the early compilation of Philippine food data on the proximate, minerals and vitamins was prepared. In 1950, the program on food composition analysis was conducted. And in 1951, the first Food Composition Tables (FCT) Recommended for Use in the Philippines Handbook I was published. From thereon, the FCT underwent six more revisions prompted by constant introduction of new foods in the food supply; discovery of food components that are associated with health and disease; and continuous improvement in analytical methods intervention and data quality assurance measures. To date, the DOST-FNRI remains to be the sole generator of food composition data in the Philippines.

The latest edition of the handbook, the 2019 FCT, is one of the Institute’s continuing efforts to update the knowledge of what is in the foods eaten by Filipinos. The handbook contains additional food items and food components with health implications like sodium, cholesterol, total sugar, total dietary fiber and fatty acids. It also features a new format for easy searching and reading by researchers and food and nutrition professionals.

As a nutrition tool, the Philippine FCT is widely used in dietary assessment to define the nutritional status of Filipinos. The handbook also finds useful application in the conduct of cost-effective and doable nutrition intervention programs; manufacture of food products; development of recipes, meals and menus for therapeutic diets and institutional catering; for commercial food service industry, in agricultural researches towards improving the food supply; and, in food trade and regulations, among others.

Food Exchange Lists (FEL) for Meal Planning, 4th edition

The Food Exchange Lists for Meal Planning developed by Registered Nutritionist-Dietitians (RNDs) is one of the basic nutrition tools in nutrition and dietetics that has been used for decades. In the Philippines, the first FEL, published in 1953, was designed primarily for the calculation of diabetic diets. The revised version in 1965 and again in 1994, was for both normal and therapeutic diets. The need to update the FEL emerged due to the advent of new foods and products that can influence the lifestyle and eating habits of individuals, and consequently the health of the Filipino population.

Thus, the FEL was updated and revised to facilitate dietary computations and recommend the use of a variety of foods. It also provides greater flexibility in meal planning and assists in meeting dietary management goals of clients.

The 4th edition of the FEL for Meal Planning now includes 200 new food items based on the updates of the Food Composition Tables, new food and food products available in the market, commonly-consumed food items from the 2013 National Nutrition Survey and the comments and suggestions of users and stakeholder-consultants from nutrition, medical and health organizations.

Other new features of the 4th edition of the FEL Handbook are the inclusion of food images, English and Filipino or common names of food items and glossary of terms. It also contains use of available carbohydrates instead of total carbohydrates and new computation methods for energy requirements and a lot more.

With the FEL for Meal Planning, 4th edition, the DOST-FNRI continuously provides an updated nutrition tool which can be used by nutritionist-dietitians as guide in planning meals and prescribing diets to their clients, health professionals in nutrition education as guide in medical nutrition therapy and as reference material in hospital clinics and academic institutions in teaching diet therapy. Fitness centers and other health care facilities can also use it as reference material for those who are under weight loss management.

Overall, the FEL helps simplify diet counseling.

Details of the prices and how to avail both handbooks will be posted via the DOST-FNRI official website and Social Media Pages.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/ Fax Nos: 8837-2934 or 8837-3164; Direct Line: 8839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 8837-2071-82 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: or at; DOST-FNRI website: Like our Facebook page at or follow our Twitter account at (DOST-FNRI S & T Media Service: Press Release – MARILOU R. GALANG, Sr. SRS)

Food products for nutritionally at-risk Pinoys launched

Nutritionally at-risk Filipinos will soon benefit from nutritious food products developed by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

Introduced during the “Grand Launch of 2020: Perfect Vision for Nutrition” on February 19, 2020 at the Makati Diamond Residences, the new food products include the Enhanced Micronutrient Growth Mix (MGM 15), Multi-Nutrient Extruded Rice Kernel (MNERK), Rice-Mongo Blend with Vegetables, Rice-Mongo Curls with Vegetable and Extruded Sweet Potato Fries.

The Enhanced MGM is a powdered fortificant in a two-gram sachet added to cooked food that contains 15 essential vitamins and minerals to help boost the physical and mental development of children six months to five years old.

When ingredients for preparing a nutritionally-adequate or balanced diet are scarce, unavailable, expensive or there is no time to source them, MGM 15 is a practical, easy and affordable way to fortify meals in evacuation centers, feeding programs, and at home.

Another food product introduced is the MNERK for women of reproductive age (WRA), a nutritionally vulnerable population group.

Made from rice blended with extruded multi-nutrient kernel, MNERK is fortified with vitamins A, B1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin and B9 or folate, plus Zinc and iron that are especially needed by the mother and growing baby during pregnancy and lactation.

Six months after the recommended exclusive breastfeeding, the DOST-FNRI presented the Rice-Mongo Blend with Vegetables as complementary food for young children six months to three years old and the Rice-Mongo Curls with Vegetables as nutritious alternative snacks for older kids, teens and adults alike.

The whole family will surely enjoy the Extruded Sweet Potato or Kamote Fries, another nutritious alternative to the well-loved French fries that also debuted during the launch.

The new nutritious food products were adopted for commercialization by the Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation of Santa Barbara, Pangasinan, which already markets several FNRI food technologies.

Present during the launching of the nutritious food products are DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST-FNRI Director Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, DOST-FNRI Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Deputy Director and Chief Science Research Specialist Engr. Rosemarie G. Garcia, Mr. Racky D. Doctor and Mrs. Divine C. Doctor, President and Finance Manager, respectively, of Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation.

The FNRI is proactively scouting for interested entrepreneurs to be valuable partners in fighting malnutrition by adopting nutritious and innovative food technologies.

Inquire from your Provincial Science and Technology Office or DOST Regional Office for proper referral, as well as financial and technical assistance.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/Fax Nos: 8-837-2934 or 8-837-3164; Direct Line: 8-839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 8-837-3071 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: or; DOST-FNRI website: Like our Facebook Page at or follow our Twitter account at (DOST-FNRI S&T Media Service: Press Release – SALVADOR R. SERRANO, SRS II)

PH strengthens genomics initiatives as DOST-FNRI offers
nutrigenomics lab services

“Mahirap. Lalo na kapag hindi mo alam kung ano ba talaga ang dapat gamutin. O kung saan magsisimula para malaman ang sakit niya.” Bernardo De Leon, 35, approached the Nutritional Genomics team after a lay forum in Philippine Heart Center last December. Despair is palpable in Bernardo’s voice while carrying his newborn daughter with a yet to be diagnosed metabolic disease.

“Sana available na iyong mga test na na-discuss ninyo kanina, kahit paano makakita kami ng pag-asa,” De Leon added, as the team resorted to asking for his contact numbers. Although at that time, the team seemed uncertain about what kind of help he needs, assurance was made that he will be informed about the progress on the endeavors the group will undertake.

De Leon’s daughter is just one of the growing cases of congenital disorders in the country. In 2006, March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization advocating for maternal and child health, reported that the prevalence of congenital disorders was 52.9 per 1000 live births in the Philippines.

This number is expected to rise annually.

The era of genomic medicine in the Philippines
De Leon and thousands of other parents in the Philippine can now see a ray of hope as genomics medicine continues to create a buzz in the public health scene.

The application of genomics for the promotion of health and prevention of public health problems started in the Philippines upon the establishment of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) in 2009. The Center paved the way for the development of diagnostic kits for the early detection of infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Following the initiatives of the PGC, the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) ventured into genome-based nutrition research in 2010.

Bringing genomic science closer to the people
A decade after its inception, DOST-FNRI will launch genome-based nutrition counselling and laboratory services to the public on February 19, 2020, at the Makati Diamond Residences. These services will be available to all Filipinos through the Nutritional Genomics (NuGen) Laboratory by July 2020. Through these laboratory services, clinicians will have additional tools to explain the roles of genes in weight management, metabolism, and other nutrition-related health consequences.

Nutritional genomics, as the field is collectively called, is the application of genomic technologies in nutrition research. The science deals with genetic responses as individuals consume diets.

For one, nutritional genomics is a healthcare innovation that promises the prevention of diseases through personalizing a person’s diet. Customizing the diet is based on an individual’s nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype.

A genotype is the collection of genes that are responsible for defining a person’s genetic characteristics.

The rapid development of genomics and its corresponding science-based services in the Philippines sheds new light on parents like Bernardo. This progress offers more possibilities for the diagnosis and management of early-life diseases that are linked with the human genome.

“Salamat po.” That sounded a decibel higher than a hush but audible enough to be heard inside the descending elevator.

It was a man’s voice. Everyone inside the lift searched for that man who just uttered a heartfelt gratitude. It was Bernardo, still carrying his daughter. He gave us a shy but hopeful smile. The team waved and returned a beam. He waved back with his free arm.

For that one last glance before alighting from the elevator, the team saw that free arm holding tight to the business cards we managed to hand him back at the forum.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/Fax Nos: 8-837-2934 or 8-837-3164; Direct Line: 8-839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 8-837-3071 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: or; DOST-FNRI website: Like our Facebook Page at or follow our Twitter account at (DOST-FNRI S&T Media Service: Press Release – JACUS S. NACIS, SRS II).