Spade and other programs for habitual intake

There are alternative options than the SPADE program to model the habitual intake distribution. Using the basic models the results of the different methods is generally similar. However each software has its specific features and aspects that my result in preference of one above the other; e.g. availability of specific models, availability, costs, user-friendliness [Souverein, 2011]
  • SPADE is a model developed by RIVM to facilitate RIVM’s tasks for estimating chronic exposure to nutrients to evaluate the adequacy (low intakes at left tail of distribution) as well as the safety (high intakes at right tail of the distribution) using data from the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey. SPADE currently facilitates the modelling of a) single dietary component consumed daily or episodically, b) supplemental component, c) combination of food and supplement, and d) combination of several sources .
  • MCRA is a platform for Monte Carlo Risk Assessment – probabilistic modelling of chemical intake from food, developed for RIVM by WUR/Biometris to facilitate RIVM's tasks for the national food safety authority and for cooperation in international projects. MCRA is a web-application, and many additional functionalities relevant for (international) chemical exposure assessment are available. For more information on MCRA see
  • PC-Side (PC Software for Intake Distribution Estimation, formerly IML-SIDE and C-SIDE) was produced by researchers in the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University in 2001. The program can be used to implement the ISU Method (Nusser et al., 1996) to estimate the distributions of usual intake of nutrients, foods consumed almost daily, and other dietary components. More information can be obtained from
  • NCI usual intake. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and elsewhere have developed a method to estimate usual dietary intakes of foods and nutrients. SAS macros are currently available to facilitate modeling of: a) a single dietary component, whether consumed daily or episodically; b) ratios of two dietary components that are consumed nearly every day; and c) multiple dietary components, whether consumed daily or episodically. For more details about the NCI method see
  • MSM (Multiple Source Method) is developed by the Department of Epidemiology of the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) as part of the EFCOVAL project. The MSM program is a web application with which you can calculate the usual dietary intake from 24h recall information and supporting data such as food frequency data. MSM is characterized by a two-part shrinkage technique applied to residuals of two regression models, one for the positive daily  intake data and one for the event of consumption. See for more information on MSM. The website advises to use caution when planning an MSM analysis which includes covariates.

If you have suggestions to extend or update this list of usual intake models please contact us at

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