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Branched-chain fatty acid content of foods and estimated intake in the USA

  • Rinat Rivka Ran-Ressler (a1), SangEun Bae (a1), Peter Lawrence (a1), Dong Hao Wang (a1) and J. Thomas Brenna (a1)...


Branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA) are bioactive food components that constitute about 2 % of fatty acids in cows' milk fat. There are few systematic data available on the BCFA content of other foods to estimate dietary intakes. In the present study, we report BCFA distribution and content of fresh and processed foods representing the major foods in the American diet and estimate BCFA intake. BCFA are primarily components of dairy and ruminant food products, and are absent from chicken, pork and salmon. The mean BCFA intake of 500 mg/d was delivered primarily from dairy and beef food products; by comparison, average intake of the widely studied long-chain PUFA EPA and DHA has been estimated to be 100 mg/d. Common adjustments in the diet could double the daily intake of BCFA. The fermented foods sauerkraut and miso had appreciable fractions of BCFA, but, overall, they are low-fat foods providing very small amounts of BCFA in the diet, and other fermented foods did not contain BCFA as might have been expected from the influence of microbial exposure. These data support the quantitative importance of BCFA delivered primarily from dairy and beef food products and highlight the need for research into their effects on health.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding authors: R. R. Ran-Ressler, email; J. Thomas Brenna, email


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Present address: Nestlé R&D Center Minneapolis, 12500 Whitewater Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343, USA.



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