Abstract Though folates are sensitive to heat treatments, leaching appears to be a major mechanism involved in folate losses in vegetables during processing. The aim of our study was to study folate diffusivity and degradation from spinach and green beans, in order to determine the proportion of each mechanism involved in folate losses. Folate diffusivity constant, calculated according to Fick’s second law (Crank, 1975), was 7.4×10−12m2/s for spinach and 5.8×10−10m2/s for green beans, which is the same order of magnitude as for sugars and acids for each vegetable considered. Folate thermal degradation kinetics was not monotonous in spinach and green beans especially at 45°C and did not follow a first order reaction. The proportion of vitamers changed markedly after thermal treatment, with a better retention of formyl derivatives. For spinach, folate losses were mainly due to diffusion while for green beans thermal degradation seemed to be preponderant.