OBJECTIVE: We assessed the effects of an intervention aimed at increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables on plasma folate and homocysteine concentrations. METHODS: Seventy-one healthy non-smoking women (mean +/- SD 41 +/- 4 y of age) were randomized to an intervention or a control group. Participants in the intervention group (n = 36) received weekly packets containing fruits and vegetables free of charge and were asked to consume a daily amount of >/=200 g of vegetables and two pieces of fruit (the Dutch recommended intake level) over a period of 1 mo. Control subjects did not receive any intervention. RESULTS: Compared with the control group, reported fruit and vegetable intakes in the intervention group increased by 133 g/d (95% confidence interval [CI] 87-179, P <0.001) for fruits and juice and 64 g/d (95% CI 37-91, P <0.001) for vegetables and estimated folate intake from fruits and vegetables increased by 40 mug/d (95% CI 22-58, P <0.001). However, no effect was observed on plasma folate concentrations (intervention effect 0.3 nmol/L, 95% CI -1.8 to 2.8, P = 0.77) or homocysteine concentrations (intervention effect 0.26 mumol/L, 95% CI -0.34 to 0.87, P = 0.39). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that 4 wk of increased fruit and vegetable consumption to the recommended amounts may be insufficient to change plasma folate and homocysteine concentrations.
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