At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Can be used to estimate Americans' dietary intakes of the 37 components of the USDA Food Patterns, assess dietary patterns and adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and other dietary recommendations and estimate the cost of foods and diets.
  • Translates the amounts of foods, in their as-consumed form, into guidance-based food groups (i.e., equivalents of USDA food pattern groups such as dark-green vegetables, whole grains, and added sugars).
  • Although FPED was designed to reflect the USDA food patterns, the food groups are generic enough that it can be used to characterize diets according to a number of food guidance systems.
  • Allows reported intakes to be compared directly with food group intake recommendations.
  • Can be used to calculate diet quality, such as Healthy Eating Index scores.
  • Can be applied in nutrition monitoring and surveillance, epidemiological studies, risk analysis, and policy analysis.
  • Can be used in any study which uses USDA’s FNDDS to code intake.



To convert foods and beverages in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) to 37 USDA Food Patterns (FP) components. FPED can be used to analyze dietary data from What We Eat In America (WWEIA), the dietary intake portion of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and characterize many different kinds of food and beverages reported in surveys and other types of studies into components that are relevant to dietary analysis and guidance.

Target Population

Foods in the FNDDS.


FPED is updated for each 2-year release of FNDDS.


Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Special Note(s)

An earlier version of FPED was known as the MyPyramid Equivalents Database (MPED). MPED version 2.0 can be applied to NHANES data from WWEIA 2003-2004. Version 1.0 can be applied to earlier surveys such as WWEIA, NHANES 2001-2002, NHANES 1999-2000 and the USDA’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994-1996 and 1998.


Sample Design

Database includes all foods in the corresponding FNDDS.

Sample Size

All 8,000+ food codes in the corresponding FNDDS.

Special Note(s)

As of 2013, two products are provided with the FPED release: the Food Patterns Equivalents Ingredient Database (FPID), which includes each unique ingredient used in FNDDS converted to the 37 FP components, and listings of gram weights for one cup-equivalents of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and legumes.

Key Variables


NameMethods of Assessment
Total fruitCup equivalents
Citrus, melons, and berriesCup equivalents
Other fruitsCup equivalents
Fruit juiceCup equivalents
Total vegetablesCup equivalents
Dark green vegetablesCup equivalents
Total red and orange vegetablesCup equivalents
TomatoesCup equivalents
Other red and orange vegetables (excludes, tomatoes)Cup equivalents
Total starchy vegetablesCup equivalents
Potatoes (white potatoes)Cup equivalents
Other starchy vegetables (excludes white potatoes)Cup equivalents
Other vegetablesCup equivalents
Beans and peas computed as vegetablesCup equivalents
Total grainsOunce equivalents
Whole grainsOunce equivalents
Refined grainsOunce equivalents
Total protein foodsOunce equivalents
Total meat, poultry, and seafoodOunce equivalents
Meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, game)Ounce equivalents
Cured meat (frankfurters, sausage, corned beef and luncheon meat made from beef, pork, poultry)Ounce equivalents
Organ meat (from beef, veal, pork, lamb, game, poultry)Ounce equivalents
Poultry (chicken, turkey, other fowl)Ounce equivalents
Seafood high in n-3 fatty acidsOunce equivalents
Seafood low in n-3 fatty acidsOunce equivalents
EggsOunce equivalents
Nuts and seedsOunce equivalents
Beans and peas computed as protein foodsOunce equivalents
Total dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, whey)Ounce equivalents
Milk (includes calcium fortified soy milk)Ounce equivalents
YogurtOunce equivalents
CheeseOunce equivalents
OilsGram equivalents
Solid fatsGram equivalents
Added sugarsTeaspoon equivalents
Alcoholic drinksNumber of drinks

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain FPED, MPED 1.0 and MPED 2.0 data from USDA's Food Patterns Equivalents Database website.




Geocode Variable(s)

Data are not geocoded but they can be linked to NHANES data using the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Surveys (FNDDS) food codes.

Existing Linkages

Data have been linked to NHANES dietary data.

Special Note(s)

Data also can be linked to any other survey or study using FNDDS food codes.

Selected Publications


Ahuja JK, Moshfegh AJ, Holden JM, Harris E. USDA food and nutrient databases provide the infrastructure for food and nutrition research, policy, and practice. Journal of Nutrition 2013 Feb;143(2):241S-249S.

Britten P, Marcoe K, Yamini S, Davis C. Development of food intake patterns for the MyPyramid food guidance system. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2006;38(6S):S78-S92.

Krebs Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. Journal of Nutrition 2010;140(10):1832-1838.

Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM, Bosire C. Evaluating the food environment: Application of the Healthy Eating Index-2005. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;38(5):465-471.