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J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Jan;100(1):88-94.

Dietary folate equivalents: interpretation and application.

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Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.


The 1998 Dietary Reference Intakes express the new Recommended Dietary Allowances for folate in dietary folate equivalents ("DFEs"), which account for differences in the absorption of naturally occurring food folate and the more bioavailable synthetic folic acid. The quantity of dietary folate equivalents occurring naturally in food equals the micrograms of folate as reported, and the dietary folate equivalents provided by fortified foods equal the micrograms of food folate plus 1.7 times the micrograms of added folic acid. Currently, the use of dietary folate equivalents is recommended for planning and evaluating the adequacy of people's folate intake. As a result of new US Food and Drug Administration regulations, folic acid has been added to enriched cereal grains and thus affects hundreds of food products. To help dietetics professionals plan and evaluate diets that include enriched cereal grain products, we estimated the dietary folate equivalent content of a selection of foods using data supplied by the US Department of Agriculture and grouped the foods by dietary folate equivalent content.

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