Archive | Preface

How we got here and we keep going because we love it!

Our story

Welcome to Food Research information. We have been involved in food intake assessment since 1970 when we needed nutrient data for an energy balance study. We had the energy consumption data but not the energy input data. It was then that we realized how big an undertaking it was to get simple food intake data. We were interested in only one nutrient (calories) and we had a relatively small population. It was a challenge. Since then we have developed software which supports all aspects of acquiring food intake data.

The software provides access and control over food data (food descriptions, units of measure, nutrients, etc.), subject intake data (7 day records, by meals), and extensive reporting and export of report data so that it can be used in spreadsheets or statistical packages. Of course, in the process, other related software was developed to manage recipes and convert recipe data to foods so that they could be used in subject intakes, and to create a food history questionnaire environment with integration as a tool for food intakes.

User defined tables were created for unlimited nutrient definitions and for recommended nutrient intake values which could be used with foods or food intake data. User defined food groups were added so that data could be summarized to meet the goals of the study.

With such flexible tools it became possible to innovate. For instance, one study used recalls to generate data which, when expressed in food groups could be used to formulate population specific food history questions. A question relating to pasta truly represented the pasta eaten by that population. If you do not understand these concepts, do not worry, it took us years of working with nutritionists and their studies to arrive at them.

McGill University

We use CANDAT because it is the best software giving access to the Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) that we have been able to find. It allows us to structure our data to provide the results that we need. For example, we have made consistent use of the food grouping capability that provides us with nutrients from these food groups so we can write manuscripts pertaining not only to the nutrients but also the food sources in the Canadian population. Support from the software provider is exceptional and very responsive to user needs. For example, when Health Canada removed some units from the Canadian nutrient file that were essential to the data entry, Godin London Incorporated extracted these from an older version of the CNF and added these back to CANDAT. Godin London Incorporated has also responded to our needs by adding functions that save us time when doing corrections and data cleaning.

Louise Johnson-Down
Survey Coordinator Food habits of Canadians
McGill University 21,111 Lakeshore
Ste Anne de Bellevue QC
H9X 3V9
Fax: 514-398-7739

First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study

We are a multi-organization research team (University of Northern British Columbia, University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Assembly of First Nations and Health Canada) that has used CANDAT since 2008. So far, we have used CANDAT to enter over 5000 single and repeated recalls. The software is easy to learn and use. One of our students doing data entry mentioned that CANDAT was easier and more friendly to use than another program he had been using. We are able to incorporate traditional foods and recipes from our study easily into the database. The software developer is always open to suggestions from CANDAT users to facilitate data entry, such as viewing the food description when reviewing data entry and automatic repeat of past key word searches. Above all, the technical support provided by Godin London Incorporated (Gaetan) is always top-notch. He is prompt to answer questions and to solve problems. Recently, we requested a new feature which would enable users to view the food description when reviewing data entry and they were able to do this within a few days. Also, when validation of a dietary file with a more recent version of the Canadian Nutrient File was needed, they were able to write a program that allowed the file to be imported back into CANDAT (from SAS).

This was all done under the no-charge support provided with all CANDAT licences. I would highly recommend CANDAT to any nutrition researcher. Gaetan always strives to adapt CANDAT’s capabilities to suit its users.

Amy Ing, M.Sc.
Data Analyst
First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study

University of PEI

CANDAT is superior to other nutrient analysis programs because it is designed to accommodate the diverse needs of researchers. Being able to handle food recalls and records and food frequency questionnaires in the same program, to create user files of special food items not included in the CNF and to easily import files into statistical analysis packages makes it unique in Canada. Most of all, having a support person who has extensive experience with nutrition researchers makes CANDAT an easy choice for me.

I have been working with CANDAT since 1984, and have also tried a number of other nutrient analysis programs. I keep coming back to CANDAT for two reasons: the support with CANDAT is superb. I have emailed Gaetan and received a phone call within minutes. He "knows his stuff" and can pinpoint and resolve any problems or challenges quickly. The program he uses to take over the computer is amazing and very efficient.

Since he has worked with a number of academics in nutrition, he understands research and the special needs researchers have. My research group had a challenging task a few years ago which involved adapting an American Food Frequency questionnaire for Canadian use and adding data on dietary nitrates. This was a very complex and time consuming task, and Gaetan was an active participant in the research process. When we were under time pressures to complete the analysis, Gaetan committed time and was able to get us the data when we needed it. He goes beyond a technical role, and sometimes poses questions which I don't think of, preventing problems before they happen.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Family & Nutritional Sciences
Dalton Hall 204
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Ave, Charlottetown PEI C1A 4P3 (902)
566-0475 Fax (902) 628-4367

University of Guelph

I have used Candat for many years for the analysis of 24 hour recall data, and for the development and subsequent analysis of food frequency questionnaires for two different studies. The range of analytic options provided by Candat, and the fact that it is based on the latest version of the Canadian Nutrient File, are key features.
Assistance with the development of FFQs and translation of responses into the format that can be analyzed with Candat is available on an as needed and timely basis. Response is usually within 24 hours. And, there is no problem asking for help.
I have used Candat for years because of GLI's knowledge and continuous efforts to make the software ever more powerful.

Susan Evers PhD
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1


The CANDAT system is the result of the contribution and cooperation of many people and groups. The work was initiated by the Program in Human Nutrition,  University of Toronto.  Dr. G. H. Beaton and Dr. G. H. Anderson (department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto), Dr. Earl Coffin (Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada), Dr. Norman Tape (Agriculture Canada), as well as representatives of the food industry, were instrumental in obtaining the commitment from Health and Welfare Canada to develop and maintain the Canadian Nutrient File.  Mrs. Pamela Verdier (Health Protection Branch) has been the person mainly responsible for making this file available.

Software development for the food record calculation system was by Peace and Musten Ltd. and Iota Computer Services, primarily Mrs. Doryne Peace and Mr. Gaëtan Godin.

Mrs. Vartouhi Jazmaji, Mrs. Catherine Benda, Miss Lynn Gates, Mrs. Diane Kraft, Ms. Mary Ann Yurkew tested the system and prepared fibre data for the Institute food file.

Further work in developing the programme for Food Frequency Questionnaires and for defining food groups was done at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto Branch for Human Cancer in conjunction with Iota computer Services Ltd.

The modification of the mainframe (DEC system 10) programs for the IBM PC system was a joint project of the Ludwig Institute; the department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto; and Godin London Incorporated.

The further development and refinement of CANDAT was left in the capable hands of Godin London Incorporated.

Elizabeth Bright-See, Ph.D., project coordinator (former coordinator of Program in Human Nutrition, University of Toronto; Nutritional Scientist, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto Branch for Human Cancer Prevention).


Development work for CANDAT was partially funded by a National Research Council Grant to Godin London Incorporated, under project 'Nutrient file 2134'.

Phone: +1 (877) 977-2664 (toll free)