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It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet



How accurate is the nutrition information in your recipes?

I was just wondering how accurate the nutritional information is in your recipes. I realize they can never be exact, but some of them seem way off. For example, the coconut shrimp says it has about 175 calories for 4 oz of shrimp and 2 tbsp of sauce, but there are about 166 calories in 4 oz of shrimp. If you could respond it would be very helpful because I enjoy using your recipes and they taste delicious.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Coconut Shrimp

Thanks very much for your question. In the past I used a feature of The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan, My Recipe Box, that utilizes the USDA database, the gold standard for nutrition information. I now use a feature of the USDA's Supertracker, which utilizes the same USDA database.

Certainly checking the nutrition information can be a subjective process. Even within some of the choices offered by the USDA there are variations. For instance, the listing for "Crustaceans, shrimp, mixed species, raw" is 119 calories for 4 ounces. There are subtle differences between cooked and raw ingredients, with the same shrimp reported at 97 calories for 3 1/2 ounces (4 ounces of raw shrimp cooks up to about 3 1/2 ounces).

So for the recipe in question the 175 calories is very reasonable. The basil, garlic, ginger, lime juice, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and maple syrup make up only about 35 calories and the remaining 20 calories from the light coconut milk.

I have seen a variety of nutrition analysis programs that seem to be wide of the mark when compared to the information provided by the USDA. In the end it comes down to trusting what you feel is the best information.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet