Examining dietary phosphorus intake

Process of calculating values of added phosphorus in foods and beverages. Credit: Nutrients (2021). DOI: 10.3390/nu13072249

The International Food Additives Council (IFAC), a global association representing manufacturers and end-users of food ingredients, has released its findings on a study that examined dietary phosphorus intake over time and correlations with health and physiology.

The two-part study was conducted by researchers Kristin Fulgoni, Victor Fulgoni and Taylor Wallace and found between 1988-1994 and 2015-2016, Americans’ daily intake of natural phosphorus increased by 12% while their daily intake of added phosphorus decreased by 13%.

The study also found a higher total of phosphorus intake is associated with increased bone mineral content and bone density, a decreased risk of high blood pressure by 3%, and an increased risk of lowering levels of HDL-cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol) by 21% for every 100 milligrams of added phosphorus consumed.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral that’s naturally present in many foods. The body uses this mineral to build strong bones and teeth, maintain a normal pH balance, deliver oxygen to tissues, convert food into energy, and much more. The top five food sources of natural phosphorus include cheese, pizza, chicken, reduced-fat milk and eggs.

Currently, the average total dietary phosphorus intake for adult Americans is 1,400 milligrams per day, which is well below the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of 3,000—4,000 milligrams per day. Added phosphorus accounts for about 11.6% of total phosphorus intake among American adults ages 19 and over. The main contributors for added phosphorus are cheese, soft drinks, cakes, pies, cookies, and brownies.

The research was published as two studies in Nutrients.

Plant growth stimulation by high CO2 depends on phosphorus homeostasis in chloroplasts

More information:
Kristin Fulgoni et al, Trends in Total, Added, and Natural Phosphorus Intake in Adult Americans, NHANES 1988–1994 to NHANES 2015–2016, Nutrients (2021). DOI: 10.3390/nu13072249

Kristin Fulgoni et al, Association of Total, Added, and Natural Phosphorus Intakes with Biomarkers of Health Status and Mortality in Healthy Adults in the United States, Nutrients (2022). DOI: 10.3390/nu14091738

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