Dietplan6 is the successor to Dietplan5, which was originally released in 1991.The software was completely re-written in 2003 and, although it took the functionality of Dietplan5 as its starting point, internally it was designed to be as independent as possible of any particular operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, or any specific database management system. The current version 6.70 of the software runs under Windows from 2000 to Windows 8 and on Macintosh OS X from version 10.5 (Leopard) to 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
There are two versions of the software: Dietplan6 Pro and Dietplan6 P3. Both are practically identical in the nutritional analysis tasks they can perform, but each is intended for a different kind of user.
Dietplan6 Pro is the professional model, intended for use in an organisation or department where more than one person may be using the software and/or it is required to be available, via a network, from more than one computer workstation.
The Dietplan6 P3 model is Personal, Portable and Plug-able. Intended for personal use, the software is pre-installed and delivered on a 2 Gigabyte flash drive that simply plugs into the USB port of any PC and runs without any further installation. All your work is saved on the same device, so you can simply unplug it and carry it with you, then continue exactly where you left off when you plug it back into any computer.
There is no defined minimum hardware configuration for running Dietplan6. In practice, any PC running Windows 2000 or later, or a Mac running OS X will have more than enough capacity to run Dietplan.
Dietplan6 can handle food tables from multiple sources and data from any source can be included in any recipe, menu or personal food diary without restriction. The Dietplan6 database is pre-installed with the full set of UK food tables - all the foods and nutrients from the 5th and 6th Editions of McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of foods plus all the published supplements, including Fatty acids and the Composition of Foods Integrated Data Set.
A major feature, introduced with Dietplan version 6.20, then updated and extended in subsequent versions, is the capacity to import food tables from sources additional to the UK “McCance & Widdowson” data. These sources currently comprise:
- Abbott Nutrition
- Anglia Crown
- Australia and New Zealand NUTTAB 2010
- Better Hospital Food recipes
- Danone Baby Nutrition
- Fresenius Kabi Ltd
- Nestlé Nutrition (including ex. Novartis Medical Nutrition)
- Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition
- Pepsico International
- Phyto-oestrogen values for UK foods
- South Asian cooked foods
- Tillery Valley Foods
- U.S.Dept of Agriculture (Release 25, 2012)
- USDA Flavonoid data
- USDA Isoflavone data
The additional food tables are delivered in a separate database on the installation CD. The software has a table-import function that allows you to add the tables you require into the main Dietplan6 database.
- The software supports multiple sets of food tables so other national food tables can be used as well as, or instead of, the UK data. Users can add an unlimited number of their own foods into the food database.
- The database also includes Dietary Reference Values (COMA, 1991), Food Portion Sizes (MAFF 2nd Edition, 1993), Food Labelling Data (EU Regulation 2011) and the Nutritional Standards and Requirements for School Food (HMSO, 2008)
- New in version 6.50 are the Food Standards Agency (2007) front of pack, nutritional traffic-light labelling for recipes, as well as the IGD, Guideline daily amounts. Estimated vitamin losses (McCance & Widdowson, 6th Ed) and weight changes on cooking can also be entered.
- Nutrient values are calculated as soon as a food or ingredient is added, making it easy to observe the effects of adding or subtracting any item. The food tables can also be searched, for high or low values of a specified nutrient.
- The subjects of personal dietary assessments can have their details recorded, and an unlimited number of assessments can be saved for each individual. The personal details are used in the computation of the individual’s Dietary Reference Values, Body Mass Index, etc.
- Dietplan can be operated in a completely open manner with no restrictions on the user, or (Pro version only) an appointed system administrator can control access and specify the rights and privileges of individual, registered users. The settings and preferences selected by registered users are saved between sessions and are unaffected by the selections made by others.
- Results can be presented in the form of printed reports which can be a mixture of tabulated and free-form text and high-resolution graphics.
- The component parts of each report are fully user-selectable as are the nutrients to be reported and their order of presentation.
- Reports are produced in Portable Document Format (PDF). They can be previewed on-screen before being printed or saved in a file. Saved files can subsequently be recalled into Dietplan for review and/or (re)printing or can be viewed and printed using Adobe Reader, either stand-alone or from inside a web-browser. New at version 6.60, reports can also be saved in Open Document Format so they can be read and manipulated by the word processor in the free Open Office suite of programs. The format can also be read by Microsoft Office 2007 (SP2) and 2010. Open Office can also save files in the older Microsoft .doc format, amongst many other formats.
- Results can be presented as high-resolution colour graphics. Histograms, pie charts and bar-graphs can all be selected and viewed for a range of different data, both individual and aggregated.
- The graphics can be printed individually on a wide range of supported monochrome and colour printers. They can also be saved in standard-format files that can be imported into desk-top publishing and other image-handling software.
- A foods / nutrients matrix can be viewed on screen as a scrolling spreadsheet-style display. This can also be printed out or exported in a standard-format file to a spreadsheet package, such as Excel, Quattro or Supercalc, or to a statistics package like SPSS or Minitab.
- There is a general purpose data import module that can be configured to import and store ingredient, recipe and menu data from a variety of sources such as the catering software packages Manna (Torex Ltd) and Menumark (Datasym UK Ltd).
- Dietplan is fully documented in its accompanying User Guide and on-line help is also available at every point in the program.