What foods contain phospherous
Phosphorus is a mineral found naturally found in many foods we eat every day. It is found in dairy, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes. Some of its functions include storing and using energy and manufacturing DNA. It is essential for building strong bones and teeth. The current RDA for adults is 700 milligrams per day.
We absorb about 60 percent of the phosphorous available from plant-based foods and 80% from animal products. Naturally occurring phosphorus doesn’t appear to pose any danger to the general, healthy population. Where concern may lurk is from the inorganic phosphorus based additives that are put in food. These have been found to be absorbed at 100% into our bodies.
It is known that people with kidney disease have to be concerned about their phosphorus intake as high levels are linked to higher mortality rates. For those without kidney disease there is concern linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and calcification of blood vessels.
It is estimated that the average American consumes greater than 1400 milligrams of phosphorus daily. This is at least double of the RDA. This is just an estimation, however. Phosphorus is listed on the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) list; therefore, the actual amount added to foods is not required to be reported.
How do you know what foods contain inorganic phosphorus? It won’t be listed in the Nutrition Facts. You’ll need to read the ingredient list and look for “phos”-containing foods. Some examples include dicalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate and trisodium triphosphate, just to name a few.
The purpose of these additives vary. They are added to foods to act as anti-caking agents, stabilizers, leavening agents or acidifiers. They also help preserve moisture or color. They are especially common in processed foods that can include chicken nuggets, hot dogs, deli meats, biscuits, colas, flavored waters, puddings and processed spreadable cheeses. Even food mixes like macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles contain added phosphorus. Frozen chicken or turkey products enhanced with a broth solution are also sources.
Take a few minutes and look through your kitchen. I think you’ll be surprised how much phosphorus you’ll find. I know I was!
Mary is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome — send questions to Mary C. Koch, R.D. in care of this newspaper.