Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Plain English Allergen Labelling: New allergen labelling information requirements will be in effect from 25 Feb 2024 | Learn more

Nutrients in the NPC

Learn about the nutrients included in the Nutrition Panel Calculator (NPC) and where the data is sourced from.

On this page

Nutrients reported in the NPC

A nutrition information panel (NIP) must declare details of energy and six key nutrients. On the NIP they are broken down into values per 100-g edible portions. The way these nutrients must be broken down is listed in the table below.

Field name Nutrient category Unit Decimal places
Energy Proximate kJ 0
Protein Proximate g 1
Fat (tot) Proximate g 1
Fat (sat) Fatty acid g 1
Carbohydrate Proximate g 1
Sugars Proximate g 1
Sodium Mineral mg 0

 

The 100 g reference quantity is used consistently for all foods including liquids. However, for most semi-solid/liquid ingredients, you can type in the ingredient amount as either:

  • weight in grams or kilograms
  • volume in millilitres or litres.

The NPC automatically converts the volume of liquid ingredients to a gram weight. It does this by multiplying the volume (in mL) by the specific gravity of the liquid ingredient.

How carbohydrates are defined and calculated

Clause 1 of Standard 1.2.8 defines carbohydrate as either:

  1. carbohydrate by difference
  2. available carbohydrate

Carbohydrate by difference definition

This is calculated by subtracting from 100 the average quantity expressed as a percentage of:

  • protein
  • fat
  • dietary fibre
  • ash
  • alcohol
  • if quantified or added to the food, any other unavailable carbohydrate and the substances listed in column 1 of Table 2 to subclause 2(2).

This method assumes these proximates plus carbohydrate will add up to 100 g. Therefore, a carbohydrate by difference value is obtained simply by subtracting these proximates from 100. The assumption here is the remaining component consists entirely of carbohydrate. The equation used is below.

    Carbohydrate by difference (g) formula

    Carbohydrate (g) = 100 - [water (g) + protein (g) + fat (g) + dietary fibre (g) + ash (g) + alcohol (g)
    + (if quantified or added to the food) organic acids (g) + sugar alcohols (g) + polydextrose (g)]

    There are some limitations with this method. To use this method, data for all of the above proximates must be available. The method also assumes there are no errors in the analyses of these proximates.

    Anomalies in carbohydrate values for some foods may result. For example, you could end up with some foods having:

    • negative carbohydrate by difference values
    • a total analysed sugars value that is greater than the carbohydrate by difference value
    • a carbohydrate by difference value that looks extremely odd or different, compared with actual available carbohydrate value for similar foods.

    These anomalies may occur because of either:

    • the presence of other food components apart from the abovementioned proximates, such as organic acids and other miscellaneous organic components. By default, these all count as carbohydrate
    • the combined error of the individual analyses for the other proximates. The sum of proximates may actually range between 97 g and 103 g and is still acceptable.

    Such anomalies tend to only occur in a limited number of foods. These are characterised by a low starch content, such as some fish, meat, meat dishes, cheese, milk, eggs and oils

    Available carbohydrate definition

    This is calculated by adding the average quantity of total available sugars and starch, and if quantified or added to the food, any available oligosaccharides, glycogen and maltodextrins.

    All of the carbohydrate data presented in the NPC database have been calculated using this method - as available carbohydrate. This method is considered to be more exact than the carbohydrate by difference method. It won't result in the anomalies in the above for carbohydrate by difference method.

    Different Australian food composition databases use different equations to derive available carbohydrate values. These are compared in the following table.

    Database Available carbohydrate equation Notes

    NUTTAB 2010 (1)
    NPC 2011

    total sugars (g) + starch (g) + available oligosaccharides (g) + glycogen (g) + dextrins (g) + maltodextrins (g)
    • Consistent with the definition of available carbohydrate in Standard 1.2.8. Doesn't include any carbohydrate components listed in Table 2 to subclause 2(2).

    NUTTAB 2010 (2)
    AUSNUT 2007

    total sugars (g) + starch (g) + available oligosaccharides (g) + glycogen (g) + dextrins (g) + maltodextrins (g) + sugar alcohols (g)
    • Not consistent with the requirements of Standard 1.2.8 due to the inclusion of other carbohydrate components in Table 2 to subclause 2(2) such as sugar alcohols
    • Values derived using this equation are not appropriate for nutrition labelling.

     

    Where necessary, all NUTTAB and AUSNUT foods in the NPC database have their available carbohydrate values recalculated. This is to be consistent with the definition of available carbohydrate in Standard 1.2.8. Due to the differences in the equations, available carbohydrate values for some foods in the NPC may differ slightly. Even though they have the same food ID, they'll differ from those reported in NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007 databases.

    Requirements of the Code on carbohydrates

    Standard 1.2.8 has some additional requirements on the individual declarations of certain substances such as sugar alcohols.

    Ensure the NIP includes individual declarations of substances if the substance is both:

    • in column 1 of Table 2 to subclause 2(2) where they're present
    • the substances must be listed singly or in combination in the final food amount
    • the amount must not be less than 5 g/100 g where they've been quantified or added to the food.

    In subclause (6B), the reference to substances in Table 2 does not include organic acids.

    You need to ensure you're compliant with these requirements for individual declarations. The NPC can't generate results to meet these requirements.

    Effect of processing on carbohydrate levels

    There are many processing practices that may affect carbohydrate and energy levels. These include baking, fermenting, soaking, washing and rinsing. It's important to note that NPC values may not always adequately represent your product due to these processing practices. Refer to Other processing practices in the User Guide for further information regarding this issue.

    How energy is defined and calculated

    Energy is expressed in kilojoules (kJ) where one kilocalorie is equal to approximately 4.2 kilojoules. Using the energy factors in column 2 of Tables 1 and 2 to subclause 2(2) of Standard 1.2.8, it's calculated from amounts of:

    • protein
    • fat
    • available carbohydrate, as defined above
    • dietary fibre
    • alcohol
    • organic acids.

    Different Australian food composition databases use different equations to derive energy values. Differences are primarily due to the:

    • use of different energy factors for available carbohydrate
    • inclusion or exclusion of other energy yielding substances and the energy factors applying to these.

    Energy equations are compared in the following table.

    Database Energy equation Notes

    NPC 2011

    [protein (g) × 17] + [total fat (g) × 37] + [carbohydrate (g) × 17] + [dietary fibre (g) × 8] + [alcohol (g) × 29] + [organic acids (g) × 13]

    Uses a single energy factor for available carbohydrate of 17 kJ/g. This is consistent with the energy factors in column 2 of Table 1 to subclause 2(2). Doesn't include energy contribution from any substances in Table 2 to subclause 2(2) excluding organic acids. Organic acids have been given a single energy factor of 13 kJ/g, in line with Table 2 to subclause 2(2).

    NUTTAB 2010

    [protein (g) × 17] + [total fat (g) × 37] + [total sugars (g) × 16] + [other available carbohydrates (starch + dextrin + maltodextrin + raffinose + stachyose + other undifferentiated oligosaccharides +glycogen)(g) × 17] + [dietary fibre (g) × 8] + [alcohol (g) × 29] + [organic acids (citric + malic + quinic)(g) × 10] + [organic acids (lactic + acetic)(g) × 15] + [sugar alcohols (sorbitol + mannitol + glycerol)(g) × 16]

    Uses separate energy factors for the various carbohydrate components. Includes an energy contribution from certain substances listed in Table 2 to subclause 2(2); not only organic acids but several sugar alcohols as well (16 kJ/g). Separate energy factors for organic acids have been applied.

    AUSNUT 2007

    [protein (g) × 17] + [total fat (g) × 37] + [total sugars (g) × 16] + [starch (g) × 17] + [dextrin (g) × 17] + [maltodextrin (g) × 17] + [glycogen (g) × 17] + [dietary fibre (g) × 8] + [alcohol (g) × 29] + [organic acids (citric + malic + quinic)(g) × 10] + [organic acids (lactic + acetic)(g) × 15] + [sugar alcohols (sorbitol + mannitol)(g) × 16]

    Similar to the NUTTAB 2010 equation without the inclusion of certain carbohydrate components.

      Please note, the energy factors in NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007 equations aren’t consistent with those specified in Standard 1.2.8 for the calculation of energy. Therefore NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007 energy values are not appropriate for use in nutrition labelling.

      All NUTTAB and AUSNUT foods in the NPC database have had their energy values recalculated. This is to be consistent with the requirements of Standard 1.2.8. Due to differences in energy equations, energy values for some foods may differ slightly from those reported in NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007 databases. This is the case even though the foods have the same food ID. For example, foods with a high level of total sugars may have energy values approximately 3% greater than those reported in AUSNUT 2007.

      Requirements of the Code on energy values

      Standard 1.2.8 has some additional requirements regarding the individual declarations of certain substances such as sugar alcohols.

      Ensure the NIP includes individual declarations of substances if the substance is both:

      • in column 1 of Table 2 to subclause 2(2) are present in the food
      • in an amount of no less than 5 g/100 g either singly or in combination.

      Their contribution to total energy must be taken into account by application of the specific energy factors given in column 2 of Table 2 to subclause 2(2).

      You need to ensure your compliance with these requirements for individual declarations. The NPC isn't able to generate results meeting the requirements for individual declarations. But it includes nutrient data for substances in Table 2 to subclause 2(2), to assist in calculating total energy.

      How fat and saturated fat data are derived

      Total fat values are generally derived by laboratory analysis of a food. Saturated fat values are based on the analysis of total fat and the individual fatty acid profile. The data for saturated fat should be used with caution for the small range of multi ingredient foods such as breads and biscuits. The content may vary depending on the type of fat used in its production. If there is any doubt about the suitability of the NPC data for your needs, we recommend you have the nutrient content of your food determined by laboratory analysis.

      How sodium data is derived

      Sodium data is generally derived by laboratory analysis. The data should be used with caution for the small range of multi-ingredient foods such as breads, biscuits and soup mixes. This is because the sodium content of your finished food is greatly influenced by both of the following:

      • the amount of salt used in your recipe
      • high sodium ingredients such as soy sauce.

      If there is any doubt, we recommend that you have the nutrient content of your food determined by laboratory analysis.

      How protein data is derived

      Protein data is generally derived by laboratory analysis of total nitrogen. The protein content is calculated by multiplying the measured nitrogen content of a food by the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor, which differs depending on the food.

      How sugars data is derived

      Total sugars data is generally derived by laboratory analysis of individual sugars. The total sugars content is calculated by adding the measured individual sugars content of a food.

        Sugars (g) formula

        Sugars (g) = fructose + glucose + sucrose + maltose + lactose + galactose

        Page last updated 6 December 2023