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To identify optimal food choices that meet nutritional recommendations to reduce prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes.
Linear programming was used to obtain an optimized diet with sixty-eight foods with the least difference from the observed population mean dietary intake while meeting a set of nutritional goals that included reduction in the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes to ≤20 %.
Participants (men and women, n 25 324) aged 20 years or more from the first National Dietary Survey (NDS) 2008–2009.
Feasible solution to the model was not found when all constraints were imposed; infeasible nutrients were Ca, vitamins D and E, Mg, Zn, fibre, linolenic acid, monounsaturated fat and Na. Feasible solution was obtained after relaxing the nutritional constraints for these limiting nutrients by including a deviation variable in the model. Estimated prevalence of nutrient inadequacy was reduced by 60–70 % for most nutrients, and mean saturated and trans-fat decreased in the optimized diet meeting the model constraints. Optimized diet was characterized by increases especially in fruits (+92 g), beans (+64 g), vegetables (+43 g), milk (+12 g), fish and seafood (+15 g) and whole cereals (+14 g), and reductions of sugar-sweetened beverages (−90 g), rice (−63 g), snacks (−14 g), red meat (−13 g) and processed meat (−9·7 g).
Linear programming is a unique tool to identify which changes in the current diet can increase nutrient intake and place the population at lower risk of nutrient inadequacy. Reaching nutritional adequacy for all nutrients would require major dietary changes in the Brazilian diet.
The present communication reports a strategy to calculate the intake of Fe based on data available for folic acid and evaluate the programme of flour fortification in Brazil.
Cross-sectional study conducted in Brazil during 2008 and 2009. A 2d dietary record of individuals was used. The usual intake of folic acid by sex and age group was estimated using the National Cancer Institute method. The quantity of folic acid and Fe established by mandatory food fortification in Brazil was used, and based on that quantity we calculated the amount of flour consumed and the intake of Fe from fortification and Fe from food. Then, the absorption of each nutrient was calculated.
Brazilian households (n 16 764).
Individuals (men and women, n 34 003, aged 10 to 60+ years) from a Brazilian nationwide survey.
Mean intake and absorption of Fe from fortification (electrolytic Fe) was low in men and women.
The impact from the consumption of fortified products is small in relation to Fe intake in Brazil. The strategy proposed to estimate Fe intake from the fortification programme indicates that the amount of flour intake observed in Brazil does not justify the current ranges of mandatory flour fortification and the form of Fe that is mainly used (electrolytic Fe).
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