Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Assessment and methodology

The inclusion of functional foods enriched in fibre, calcium, iodine, fat-soluble vitamins and n-3 fatty acids in a conventional diet improves the nutrient profile according to the Spanish reference intake

Izaskun Berasategia1, Marta Cuervoa1, Arantza Ruiz de las Herasa2, Susana Santiagoa1, J Alfredo Martíneza1, Iciar Astiasarána1 and Diana Ansorenaa1 c1

a1 Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Physiology and Toxicology, University of Navarra, Irunlarrea s/n, 31008-Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

a2 Servicio de Alimentación Clínica y Dietética, Hospital Virgen del Camino, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain


Objective The growing interest in maintaining good health status through optimal nutrition has boosted the launch of a number of functional foods on the market. The objective of the present study was to theoretically evaluate the nutritional relevance of incorporating selected enriched foods in the diet.

Design A 28 d dietary plan, designed to be balanced under the recommended macronutrients criteria, was used as a basal diet. Some conventional foods were exchanged with foods enriched in fibre, calcium, iodine, vitamins A, D, E or n-3 fatty acids.

Setting Nutritional composition of basal and modified diets was derived and compared to the Spanish recommended intakes (RI).

Results The basal diet covered the recommendations for fibre and calcium with mean intake of 28 g and 1241 mg, respectively. The current intake of salt, if iodized, or bread elaborated with this salt, allowed reaching the daily intake of iodine every day, with a mean supply of 216 μg/d and 278 μg/d, respectively. The deficient supply of vitamin E in the basal diet (mean = 8 mg/d) was covered by including enriched margarine and dairy products (mean = 15 mg/d). The low n-3 fatty acids intake in the basal diet (1·1 g/d) increased up to 1·9 g/d after the use of enriched margarine, butter and biscuits and soya drink instead of milk.

Conclusions In order to improve the accomplishment of the RI iodine, vitamin E and n-3 fatty acids, interesting strategies dealing with the incorporation of enriched foods in the diet were successfully initiated.

(Received March 06 2010)

(Accepted September 09 2010)

(Online publication November 19 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email