Common Questions

Question marks

These provide basic information and related resources for common food and nutrition questions. For personalized dietary advice, please talk to a qualified health care professional.

Q. What nutrition advice do experts within the United States government have for the public?

A. Nutrition experts have developed the:

Q. How can I get nutrition advice about a medical condition?

A. For counseling:

  • Talk with your physician or other health professional about referring you to a Registered Dietitian (RD). An RD can provide personalized dietary advice taking into consideration your health status (such as other medical conditions), lifestyle, and food likes and dislikes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a Find A Registered Dietitian service which allows you to locate an RD in your geographical area with particular specialties (such as weight control, diabetes, digestive disorders, etc.).
  • Check with your local Health Department, hospitals, clinics, and Cooperative Extension for informational classes such as weight loss.

Web information:

  • You may find some useful nutrition information on the Web. Web sites however, do not take the place of personalized advice from a qualified health professional, and may have inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Topics A-Z is an extensive list of resources for both professionals and consumers that includes diseases and related nutrition topics.

Q. How can I learn more about food allergies?

A. There are many reliable resources on the Web

Q. Do you have a good explanation of the information on food labels?

A. We recommend the following:

Q. What about popular weight loss diets?

A. Weight loss diets have been popular for many years. Many people have, in fact, followed a weight loss diet at one time or another. Unfortunately, most results are not permanent and some pose serious health risks. The popular low-carbohydrate high-protein diet is an example of a strict weight loss program that may carry potentially serious health risks. See What You Should Know About Popular Diets

Before you begin any weight loss program, it is wise to speak to a qualified health professional such as a Registered Dietitian for advice on a program that is right for you. To locate a Registered Dietitian in your area, search the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Find a Registered Dietitian service.

You may find some useful information on the Web about weight loss and healthy eating. This is only for information purposes and does not take the place of personalized advice from a qualified health professional who is familiar with your particular situation. Also, though the Web can provide useful information, some of the information can be inaccurate or misleading. Many sites devoted to weight loss are marketing special products.

Q. Where can I find information on dietary supplements?

A. Many web sites on the Internet related to dietary supplements are maintained by manufacturers and retailers that may want to sell you supplements. You may be able find some useful information on the Internet about dietary supplements and health or your particular medical condition, but keep in mind that this is only for information purposes and does not take the place of personalized advice from a qualified health professional who is familiar with your particular situation. And, while the Internet can provide useful information about dietary supplements, some of the information can be inaccurate or misleading. We advise that you discuss your questions regarding the use of dietary supplements and alternative medicine with your healthcare provider.

General dietary supplement information

Herbal Information

Technical Information

Alternative and Complementary Treatments: Health Information for Older People

Q. Does USDA have menus or recipes for people on a budget?

A. Recipes and menus for people on a budget can be found at:

  • What's cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

  • Q. What are the most important things I can do to avoid foodborne illness?

    A. The four most important points to remember are:

      1. Wash your hands frequently
      2. Cook to proper temperatures
      3. Refrigerate foods promptly
      4. Avoid cross contamination

    For more food safety information:

    Q. Where can I get information on the level of calories, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals in various foods?

    A. Food composition tables provide calories and nutrients for many foods.

    Q. I am confused about different types of fats like saturated, trans, etc. Can you help?

    A. Reliable Web sites where you can find the answers:

    Q. I am a student doing a paper on nutrition. Can you send me information?

    A. If you have not found what you want on our Consumer Corner, we would recommend that you visit the Food and Nutrition Information Center's (FNIC) home page. You can get there by clicking on "Home" in the top left corner of this page.

    The FNIC Web site contains an extensive amount of food and nutrition-related information. You may use the Search option to locate information on the Web site about a specific topic you are interested in. Or click on the navigation buttons on the left side.

    Our Topics A-Z page contains the FNIC Web site content listed alphabetically by topic. You can also use the Search option in the Topics A-Z listing to locate a topic of interest.

    Other resources on our Web site that students find helpful are: