ARCHIVED - Missing Ingredients can be a Recipe for Disaster!

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December 06, 2006— Ottawa, Ontario


What we eat has been the focus of study for many years. And while we are becoming more aware of the risks linked to eating too much of some things, a recent study identified dietary fibre, calcium, magnesium, and folate as ingredients that are missing or lacking in many Canadian diets.

The study's findings, based on the nutrient intakes of close to 20,000 Canadians through the 1990s, are published in the article "Dietary intakes of Canadians in the 1990s using population-weighted data derived from the provincial nutrition surveys" in the December 2006 issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Low folate intake is linked to neural tube defects

NRC Research Press

Since NRC began the publication of research journals in 1929, NRC Research Press has been making a notable Canadian contribution to the world's research literature.

Today, NRC Research Press publishes 16 international journals of research plus several books and conference proceedings, and provides scientists and engineers in Canada and elsewhere with a means to communicate with their peers in the international research community.

Online access to 15 of the 16 NRC Research Press journals is made available to Canadians through the Government of Canada's Depository Services Program. NRC Research Press is also pleased to provide free or affordable access to its journals to local, not-for-profit institutions in developing countries.

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth defects that are caused by incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord and/or their protective coverings – such as spina bifida (the spinal column doesn't close completely) and anencephaly (a fatal condition where the brain does not fully develop).

Since they occur in early pregnancies, often before women know they are expecting, getting the proper amount of dietary folate before conception is the best prevention against NTDs.

While still not meeting recommended intake levels – folate intake has doubled since the folic acid fortification of flour became mandatory in 1996 – and Canada has enjoyed a 50% reduction in NTDs.

Increased folate intake is linked to reducing chronic and degenerative diseases

Cover page of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Women of child-bearing age are not the only people who benefit from increased folate intake. Across adult age groups, it is making significant reductions in:

  • Folate deficiency anaemia
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Cognitive function loss and Alzheimer's disease among the elderly
  • Several forms of cancers (including neuroblastomas)

This study measured the intake of essential ingredients to good health, and exposes the benefit of strategies such as mandatory fortification of flour, which introduces folic acid at low cost in food sources used across the age and economic layers of Canadian society.

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