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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jul;54(7):573-8.

Low intakes of vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits, lead to inadequate vitamin C intakes among adults.

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Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University, Box 872502, Tempe, AZ 85287-2502, USA.



To determine vitamin C intakes among adults and to identify differences in dietary intake associated with vitamin C consumption.


This cross-sectional study compared vitamin C intake, nutrient intake, and food group choices of adults with low (<30 mg/d), marginal (30-60 mg/d), and desirable (>60 mg/d) vitamin C intakes.


Data from 2472 men and 2334 women aged 25-75 y were obtained from the 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII).


Overall, 18% of the sample had low vitamin C intakes, 24% had marginal intakes, and 58% had desirable intakes. In addition to consuming less vitamin C, adults with low vitamin C intakes consumed significantly less (P</=0.001) energy-adjusted (ie nutrient/1000 kcal) folate, fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin B6, and significantly more (P<0.001) fat. Compared to adults with low intakes, adults with desirable vitamin C intakes consumed significantly more (P</=0.001) high-vitamin C fruit juice and low-vitamin C vegetables, while consuming significantly less (P</=0.009) soft drinks, coffee/tea and alcoholic beverages. On average, adults with desirable vitamin C intakes consumed more than five daily servings of vegetables and fruits, of which more than one was citrus. Adults with low and marginal vitamin C intakes consumed less than one-fifth of a serving of citrus.


A considerable number of adults under-consume vitamin C and total vegetables and fruits. Nutritionists should continue to promote five to nine daily servings of vegetables and fruits, at least one of which should be rich in vitamin C.

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