Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin that naturally occurs in dark, leafy greens and grains. Due to its benefits to women of childbearing age - it helps prevent neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida - its synthetic form is added to white flour, enriched pasta and cornmeal.
Adults require about 400 micrograms of folate a day but with many foods enriched, there are concerns they may be consuming too high a level of the vitamin.
Here are a few examples of how much folate is in everyday food products:
Frozen waffle, ready to eat. One waffle equals 25 micrograms of folate (four naturally occurring; 21 synthetic)
Quaker Granola bars, cereal bars, oatmeal to go. One bar equals 13 micrograms of naturally occurring folate.
Rice Krispies Squares. One square equals 24 micrograms (four naturally occurring; 20 synthetic)
One pancake, dry mix, prepared, just add water: 29 micrograms (seven naturally occurring; 22 synthetic)
The amount of folate in 100 grams of the following products:
Kellogg's Corn Flakes: 79 micrograms (19 naturally occurring, 60 synthetic)
English muffin mixed grain or granola: 80 micrograms (35 naturally occurring, 45 synthetic)
Cornbread or corn muffin mix: 55 micrograms (11 naturally occurring, 44 synthetic)
President's Choice Raisin Bran, Extra Raisins: 79 micrograms (19 naturally occurring, 60 synthetic)
Cheese Tortellini: 74 micrograms (12 naturally occurring; 62 synthetic)
Long grain white rice: (eight micrograms naturally occurring)
Source: Canadian Nutrient File, Health Canada
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