Originally published September 29 2011
Average American diet deficient in key nutrients
by Dave Gabriele
(NaturalNews) A three-year study surveying the dietary habits of over 16,000 Americans has found that a large portion of the population consistently fails to meet even the minimal intakes recommended in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for many key nutrients. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition (August 2011), concluded, "Without enrichment and/or fortification and supplementation, many Americans did not achieve the recommended micronutrient intake levels set forth in the Dietary Reference Intake."
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 reviewed the average intake of 19 micronutrients in 16,110 people, including key vitamins such as vitamin A and K and important minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
The majority of the population shows a sufficient minimum intake of the following nutrients: vitamin B-6, folate, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-12, phosphorus, iron, copper, and selenium.
The study notes that fortified food (food with artificial nutrients added to it) and vitamin/mineral supplementation are the reasons the majority of these daily requirements are met. In other words, our food is clearly deficient in key nutrients.
On the down side of the study, a large percentage of the population showed intakes of other key nutrients that are clearly below the minimum daily requirements. These nutrients are magnesium, calcium and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
- 25% do not get enough Vitamin C
- 34% do not get enough Vitamin A
- 38% do not get enough Calcium
- 45% do not get enough Magnesium
- 60% do not get enough Vitamin E
- 70% do not get enough Vitamin D
It is important to note that the minimum daily requirement for a nutrient is usually defined as the lowest amount that can be taken in order to not develop a "deficiency" and an associated disease or health condition. For example, the minimum daily requirement for Vitamin C is 90 mg. If you take less than this amount for an extended period of time you will develop scurvy. Although taking 90 mg will keep scurvy at bay, it is not the amount needed for optimal health. These daily requirements were never designed with "optimal health" in mind, only the avoidance of disease. However, health is much more than just the absence of disease.
The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is a non-profit organization. Published since 1928, The Journal of Nutrition was the first scientific journal created solely for publication of nutrition research.
About the authorDave Gabriele, D.Ac, BA, is a registered acupuncturist, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and a health researcher helping people in and around the Greater Toronto Area. He is the founder of Life Balance Family Health Care (www.balanceyourlife.ca), an organization committed to providing people with the information and guidance they need to make positive lifestyle changes. Dave has been a teacher of Chinese martial arts since 1997, including the arts of Taiji and Qigong.
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