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Vitamin-Mineral Supplements

Dr. Dwyer commented that supplements and fortified foods are sometimes overlooked in dietary planning. Several discussants responded, giving examples pertaining to dietary assessment. Food surveys provide data about fortified foods but not necessarily about supplements. Dr. Hirschman pointed out that targets for children are based on nutrients from foods and that the conservative approach is to examine intake from foods only unless there is a concern with exceeding the UL. Drs. Mendelson and Barr commented that the estimated prevalence of inadequacy with supplement use was essentially the same as that without supplement use in one Canadian survey, but it was lower in another one. Method of data collection, region of the country, and year all may have contributed to the difference in the findings.

Nutrient Density

Dr. Bier noted that there is no standard definition of nutrient density and that we lack a way to compare the nutrient density if, for example, one food is rich in vitamin E and another in vitamin C. Is it correct to use calories as the denominator? Dr. Barr clarified that, in the DRI Planning Report, nutrient density was considered nutrient by nutrient. One examines the distribution of the nutrient requirement in relation to the distribution of the energy requirement. She noted that no method was developed to combine the densities for different nutrients.


In response to Dr. Dwyer’s question regarding availability of quality software, Dr. Mendelson suggested that software companies link up with publishers of widely distributed textbooks and that the two parties synchronize their approach to computerized dietary assessments.

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