• John M. deMan
Part of the Food Science Text Series book series (FSTS)


Vitamins are minor components of foods that play an essential role in human nutrition. Many vitamins are unstable under certain conditions of processing and storage (Table 9-1), and their levels in processed foods, therefore, may be considerably reduced. Synthetic vitamins are used extensively to compensate for these losses and to restore vitamin levels in foods. The vitamins are usually divided into two main groups, the water-soluble and the fat-soluble vitamins. The occurrence of the vitamins in the various food groups is related to their water- or fat-solubility. The relative importance of certain types of foods in supplying some of the important vitamins is shown in Table 9-2. Some vitamins function as part of a coenzyme, without which the enzyme would be ineffective as a biocatalyst. Frequently, such coenzymes are phosphorylated forms of vitamins and play a role in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Some vitamins occur in foods as provitamins–compounds that are not vitamins but can be changed by the body into vitamins. Vitamers are members of the same vitamin family.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. deMan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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