Food based approaches to improve vitamin and mineral nutritional adequacy
Sommaire de l'article
This paper, using the nutrient density concept and the development of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG), explores the nutritional adequacy of food patterns based on the main staples around the world -maize, wheat, rice and potato. The nutritional adequacy of the vitamins A, C, folates and the minerals iron, zinc and calcium in diets composed by these staples is analyzed. Projected diets modified by the addition of foods high in vitamins and minerals, based on food table composition information, are analyzed for changes in nutritional adequacy, in order to cover the nutritional requirements of all family members. This theoretical exercise shows that diets diversified by the addition of relatively small quantities (27 – 70 g) of foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and meat improve substantially the nutritional adequacy of the vitamins A, C, folates, iron and zinc. In the case of calcium, the addition of a dairy source becomes essential. From the practical point of view, the implementation of the food based approach requires a national effort in order to support the production of nutrient rich foods and to promote consciousness of nutrient bioavailability, so that people may obtain all nutrient potential from foods. Simultaneously, the need of fortification programs at the national level is recognized. This is the case for critical nutrients, where requirements might be above the potential in available foods. A similar situation occurs in the case of vulnerable groups like pregnant women and infants, who need supplementation to ensure nutritional adequacy of their diets. In conclusion, the use of FBDG is a good alternative for improving the nutritional adequacy of diets based predominantly on staple foods. However, food fortification and supplementation programs directed to vulnerable groups are necessary and complementary practices to the FBDG implementation.