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Food Alone May Not Provide Sufficient Micronutrients for Preventing Deficiency

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The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has stated that the best nutritional strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods. Seventy diets were computer analyzed from the menu of athletes or sedentary subjects seeking to improve the quality of micronutrient intake from food choices. All of these dietary analyses fell short of the recommended 100% RDA micronutrient level from food alone. Therefore, based on diets analyzed for adequacy or inadequacy of macronutrients and micronutrients, a challenging question is proposed: "Does food selection alone provide 100% of the former RDA or newer RDI micronutrient recommended daily requirement?"
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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006. (www.theissn.org)
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition©. A National Library of Congress Indexed Journal. ISSN # 1550-2783
Food Alone May Not Provide Sufficient
Micronutrients for Preventing Deficiency
1
Bill Misner
Research and Product development, E-Caps & Hammer Nutrition, Whitefish, MT. Address correspondence to
drbill@e-caps.com.
1
This paper was originally published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients ©
April 2005 #261, pages 49-52. It is reproduced for JISSN, by permission, courtesy of Bill Misner, Ph.D. and the
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.
Received January 25, 2006/Accepted June 5, 2006
ABSTRACT
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has stated that the best nutritional strategy for promoting optimal
health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods. Seventy diets were
computer analyzed from the menu of athletes or sedentary subjects seeking to improve the quality of
micronutrient intake from food choices. All of these dietary analyses fell short of the recommended 100% RDA
micronutrient level from food alone. Therefore, based on diets analyzed for adequacy or inadequacy of
macronutrients and micronutrients, a challenging question is proposed: “Does food selection alone provide
100% of the former RDA or newer RDI micronutrient recommended daily requirement?” Journal of the
International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006
Key Words: nutrition, RDA, RDI, micronutrients
INTRODUCTION
Reference Daily Intakes (RDI) is a new term that
replaces the familiar U.S. Recommended Daily
Allowances (U.S. RDA). RDIs are based on a
population-weighted average of the latest RDAs for
vitamins and minerals for healthy Americans over 4
years old. RDIs are not recommended optimal daily
intake figures for any particular age group or sex.
Government-established Reference Daily Intake
guidelines (RDI) are designed to prevent nutrient-
deficiency diseases. Most nutritionally oriented
professionals imply that a balanced variety of foods
selected from the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP) will
supply all micronutrients at the RDA or new RDI
levels necessary to maintain optimal health and
prevent nutrient-deficiency diseases. The American
Dietetic Association (ADA) has proposed a
conservative strategy for managing dietary
micronutrient deficiency and sufficiency:
"It is the position of the American Dietetic
Association (ADA) that the best nutritional
strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing
the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a
wide variety of foods. Additional nutrients from
fortified foods and/or supplements can help some
people meet their nutritional needs as specified by
science-based nutrition standards such as the
Dietary Reference Intakes. This position paper
addresses increasing the nutrient density of foods
or diets through fortification or supplementation
when diets fail to deliver consistently adequate
amounts of vitamins and minerals."
Between 1996 and 2005, 70 diets were computer
analyzed from the menu of athletes or sedentary
subjects seeking to improve the quality of
micronutrient intake from food choices. Surprisingly,
all of these dietary analyses fell short of the
recommended 100% RDA micronutrient level from
food alone. Therefore, based on diets analyzed for
adequacy or inadequacy of macronutrients and
micronutrients, a challenging question is proposed:
“Does food selection alone provide 100% of the
former RDA or newer RDI micronutrient
recommended daily requirement?”
METHODS
From 70 computer-generated dietary analyses, 20
subjects’ diets were selected based on the highest
number of foods analyzed from 10 men (ages 25-
50y) and 10 women (ages 24-50y). A First Data Bank
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006. (www.theissn.org)
52
Nutritionist IV computer-program default was
utilized, defaulted to apply the Harris-Benedict
equation, a formula that determines energy expense
against RDA micronutrient requirement, by age,
gender, and body mass index (BMI). The purpose of
this study was to determine if food intake alone
provided the Recommended Daily Allowances
(RDA) requirements for 10 vitamins and 7 minerals.
The ten vitamins analyzed were Vitamin A, Vitamin
D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2,
Vitamin B-3, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, and Folate.
The seven minerals analyzed were Iodine, Potassium,
Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, and
Selenium.
The 20 Individual Diets analyzed originated from the
following subjects:
1. Two professional cyclists athletes (A)
2. Three amateur cyclists athletes (A)
3. Three amateur triathletes athletes (A)
4. Five eco-challenge amateur athletes (A)
5. One amateur runner athlete (A)
6. Six sedentary non-athletes (S)
Hence, fourteen (14) athletes’ (A) and six (6)
sedentary subjects’ (S) diets were analyzed for
calorie and RDA-micronutrient adequacy or
inadequacy.
RESULTS
Based on each subject’s activity level (caloric
expense), age, gender, and body mass index (BMI),
10 of the diets were found calorie-excessive, above
energy requirements (4 men and 6 women), but the
remaining 10 diets were found calorie-deficient, not
meeting 100% of their energy requirements (6 men
and 4 women). When total calorie intake percents
were averaged by gender, men consumed only 92.6%
of the calories required for their total energy
requirements, while women consumed only 97.3% of
the calories required to meet their energy
requirements. Of the 20 diets analyzed, 50% were
calorie-sufficient and 50% calorie-deficient resulting
in an overall -7.4% deficiency for men and a -2.7%
deficiency in women (Table 1.).
Calorie deficient diets tended to record a greater
number of micronutrient deficiencies as compared to
the calorie-sufficient diets. Of the 340 micronutrient
entries generated from 17 micronutrients analyzed,
TABLE 1. MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY FROM DIETS
10 MEN & 10 WOMEN %
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
VITAMINS MINERALS CALORIES
MEN
WOMEN
GOAL
all 20 subjects presented between 3 and 15
deficiencies each based on the Recommended Daily
Allowances (RDA) value from food intake alone.
Males averaged deficiencies in 40% of the vitamins
and 54.2% of the minerals required. Females
averaged deficiencies in 29% of the vitamins and
44.2% of the minerals Recommended Daily
Allowances (RDA) required. The male food intake
was RDA-deficient in 78 out of 170 micronutrient
entries, or 45.8% of the 10 vitamins and 7 minerals
analyzed. The female dietary intake was RDA-
deficient in 60 out of 170 micronutrients or 35.2% of
the 10 vitamins and 7 minerals analyzed. Both male
and females as a single entity recorded 138
micronutrient deficiencies out of the possible 340
micronutrients analyzed, or 40.5% micronutrient
RDA-deficiency from food intake alone. (Table 2.)
CONCLUSION
Accuracy of the individual food-weighed measures,
accuracy in reporting foods consumed, and the
accuracy of the computer-generated software are
factors that affect the accuracy of the results reported
in this observational study. The effect of activity on
calorie deficiency in this contingent demonstrates an
increased micronutrient deficiency in athletes (A) and
surprisingly, the sedentary subjects (S) in this study
also posted food-borne micronutrient deficiencies.
Each chronic deficiency proportionately increases the
risk of nutrient-deficiency diseases. In highly active
athletes (A), micronutrient deficiencies occur at
higher rates because calorie deficits are associated
with exercise expense. Food alone in all 20 subjects
did not meet the minimal Recommended Daily
Allowances (RDA) micronutrient requirements for
preventing nutrient-deficiency diseases. The more
active the person, the greater the need to employ a
variety of balanced micronutrient-enriched foods
including micronutrient supplementation as a
preventative protocol for preventing these observed
deficiencies. (Tables 3, 4, 5).
Concern for micronutrient adequacy from food alone
is not a new question. Excerpts 70 years ago (1936)
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006. (www.theissn.org)
53
from the 2nd Session of the 74th USA Congressional
Record (excerpts) stated:
"Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the
vegetables, the grains, the eggs and even the
milk and the meats of today are not what they
were a few generations ago (which doubtless
explains how our forefathers thrived on a
selection of foods that would starve us today). It
is bad news to learn from our leading authorities
that 99% of the American people are deficient in
these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in
any one of the more important minerals actually
results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any
considerable lack of one or another element,
however microscopic the body requirement may
be, and we sicken, suffer, and shorten our lives."
This twenty-subject dietary analysis study is not
representative of the entire population, however the
results supported by the 1936 congressional record,
beg the question:
“Does food selection alone provide 100% of the
former RDA or newer RDI micronutrient
recommended daily requirement?”
It may be that chronic micronutrient insufficiency
from food alone is more fact than fantasy. This study
calls for a dietary analysis of a larger contingent of
the population to determine if there is an association
between chronic suboptimal RDI-micronutrient
deficiency and suboptimal health disorders that may
digress into disease.
Disclosure: Bill Misner Ph.D. is employed by E-
CAPS & HAMMER NUTRITION, a manufacturer of
dietary supplements for endurance athletes.
Table 2. Total Dietary Micronutrients and Macronutrients
TOTAL
MEN
WOMEN
TOTAL
MICRONUTRIENT
ENTRIES
170
(100 VITAMIN & 70 MINERAL
ENTRIES)
170
(100 VITAMIN & 70
MINERAL ENTRIES)
TOTAL GROUP
INDIVIDUAL
MICRONUTRIENT
DEFICIENCIES
78
60
TOTAL
CALORIC AVERAGE
DEFICIENCY
92.6%
-7.4% DEFICIENCY
97.3%
-2.7% DEFICIENCY
TOTAL VITAMIN
DEFICIENCIES
40
40% DEFICIENCY
29
29% DEFICIENCY
TOTAL MINERAL
DEFICENCIES
38
54.2% DEFICIENCY
31
44.2% DEFICIENCY
TOTAL
MICRONUTRIENT
DEFICIENCY
78
45.8% DEFICIENCY
60
35.2% DEFICIENCY
GROUP I & II
MALE & FEMALE
MICRONUTRIENT
DEFICIENCY
40.5% DEFICIENCY
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006. (www.theissn.org)
54
TABLE 4.
Group II (5 MEN, 5 WOMEN)
MICRONUTRIENT
MEN %
Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
WOMEN %
Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
MALE (M)
WOMEN (W)
M6
(S)
M7
(A)
M8
(A)
M9
(A)
M10
(A)
W6
(A)
W7
(S)
W8
(S)
W9
(S)
W10
(S)
TOTAL CALORIES
INTAKE REPORTED
42% 161% 56% 93% 134% 125% 118% 76% 104% 64%
VITAMIN A 248% 445% 105% 129% 117% 533% 318% 326% 216% 130%
VITAMIN D 75% 30% 66% 13% 125% 86% 43% 60% 6% 16%
VITAMIN E 1% 76% 0.2% 123% 93% 19% 195% 9% 173% 39%
VITAMIN K 205% 122% 104% 95% 73% 341% 110% 197% 189% 28%
VITAMIN B-1 101% 290% 95% 137% 187% 255% 206% 98% 176% 155%
VITAMIN B-2 100% 209% 106% 167% 189% 219% 191% 113% 143% 84%
VITAMIN B-3 119% 294% 126% 130% 198% 204% 207% 163% 186% 167%
VITAMIN B-6 97% 137% 73% 117% 167% 168% 141% 125% 133% 128%
VITAMIN B-12 146% 193% 179% 216% 224% 111% 191% 182% 161% 98%
FOLATE 151% 255% 137% 190% 260% 327% 156% 131% 209% 171%
TABLE 3.
Group I (5 Men, 5 Women)
MICRONUTRIENT
MEN %
Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
WOMEN %
Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
MALE (M)
WOMEN (W)
ACTIVE (A)
SEDENTARY (S)
M1
(A)
M2
(A)
M3
(S)
M4
(A)
M5
(A)
W1
(A)
W2
(A)
W3
(A)
W4
(A)
W5
(A)
TOTAL CALORIES
INTAKE REPORTED
55% 59% 53% 161% 112% 64% 77% 138% 104% 103%
VITAMIN A 71% 116% 69% 445% 49% 241% 1617
%
203% 95% 807%
VITAMIN D 19% 59% 63% 30% 32% 10% 38% 1% 70% 8%
VITAMIN E 43% 135% 18% 76% 66% 146% 95% 154% 64% 206%
VITAMIN K 19% 311% 11% 122% 61% 18% 511% 44% 78% 155%
VITAMIN B-1 71% 103% 140% 290% 183% 64% 168% 334% 389% 264%
VITAMIN B-2 69% 95% 67% 209% 342% 77% 146% 183% 382% 183%
VITAMIN B-3 155% 87% 64% 294% 123% 117% 267% 256% 270% 214%
VITAMIN B-6 90% 144% 55% 137% 77% 81% 231% 143% 180% 213%
VITAMIN B-12 99% 156% 123% 193% 357% 119% 140% 78% 99% 328%
FOLATE 55% 235% 76% 255% 233% 73% 130% 249% 174% 311%
IODINE 0% 58% 0% 0% 36% 0% 25% 31% 0% 58%
POTASSIUM 124% 212% 67% 253% 144% 94% 206% 217% 201% 238%
CALCIUM 53% 90% 77% 179% 111% 65% 84% 118% 182% 99%
MAGNESIUM 51% 124% 44% 175% 73% 82% 140% 207% 119% 156%
PHOSPHORUS 105% 169% 138% 175% 248% 89% 113% 411% 218% 249%
ZINC 35% 55% 48% 124% 97% 35% 78% 144% 67% 164%
SELENIUM 30% 44% 24% 159% 97% 3% 120% 256% 117% 174%
INDIVIDUAL
MICRONUTRIENT
DEFICIENCIES
14 7 15 3 9 13 5 4 7 3
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 3(1):51-55, 2006. (www.theissn.org)
55
IODINE 0% 0% 18% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
POTASSIUM 136% 253% 99% 137% 260% 206% 135% 171% 122% 73%
CALCIUM 59% 179% 77% 127% 193% 178% 95% 103% 114% 69%
MAGNESIUM 75% 175% 72% 92% 146% 167% 125% 110% 130% 77%
PHOSPHORUS 119% 321% 135% 193% 254% 213% 148% 149% 144% 65%
ZINC 41% 124% 71% 68% 96% 98% 98% 67% 63% 56%
SELENIUM 55% 159% 47% 74% 122% 125% 85% 173% 146% 115%
INDIVIDUAL
MICRONUTRIENT
DEFICIENCIES
8 3 10 6 4 4 5 5 3 11
* Iodine is present in sea vegetation, but not in most foods unless iodized salt is added. An iodine intake of less than 20
micrograms (ug) per day is considered severe deficiency; 20-50 micrograms (ug) per day.
REFERENCES
1. American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: fortification and nutritional supplements. J Am
Diet Assoc. 2005 Aug;105(8):1300-11.
TABLE 5. MICRONUTRIENT DEFICITS
MICRONUTRIENT
MICRONUTRIENT
RDA %
MEN # DEFICIT WOMEN # DEFICIT
IODINE * 100% 10 10
VITAMIN D 95% 9 10
ZINC 80% 8 8
VITAMIN E 65% 8 5
CALORIES 50% 6 4
CALCIUM 50% 5 5
SELENIUM 45% 7 2
VITAMIN K 45% 5 4
MAGNESIUM 40% 6 2
VITAMIN B-6 30% 5 1
VITAMIN B-2 25% 3 2
VITAMIN A 25% 3 2
VITAMIN B-1 20% 2 2
VITAMIN B-12 20% 1 3
POTASSIUM 20% 2 2
FOLATE 15% 2 1
VITAMIN B-3 10% 2 0
PHOSPHORUS 10% 0 2
... Thus, an oversupply of food energy can be also accompanied by a deficiency in micronutrients that are indispensable for the metabolic activity of the human body. Micronutrients directly or indirectly affect the activity of enzymes involved in antioxidant defence systems, and deficiencies in some of these can often develop spontaneously in adults following ordinary diets [5,6]. Essential minerals include iron, copper, zinc, iodine, selenium, and chromium. ...
... Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency globally, and is associated with common iron deficiency anaemia. However, an overdose of iron can cause the generation of highly reactive free radicals that can damage nucleic acids, proteins, and other cellular components [5,6]. Iron metabolism is closely related to metabolism of copper, and its deficiency may cause anaemia due to the difficult transport of iron to the tissues synthesising haemoglobin; that is, to the bone marrow [7]. ...
... Zinc has a multidirectional involvement in the proper functioning of cells, takes part in transcription and regulation, is a component of antioxidant enzymes, and lowers the levels of proinflammatory cytokines and markers of oxidative stress. Its deficiency can lead to serious problems, such as growth retardation or dysfunction of the immune response [5,6,10]. ...
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... Indeed, the dietary intakes of athletes and the general population were shown to have declined in quality during lockdown periods [8,21]. The combination of these factors could also result in the occurrence of suboptimal protein (<1.5-1.7 g�kg BM�day -1 [7]) and micronutrient intakes [22] being consumed, which is a further cause for concern as these can increase the rate of muscle atrophy [9] and lead to deficiencies [23], respectively. To maintain health and performance, it is therefore clear that adolescent swimmers would benefit from sport nutrition support and education during times of isolation and restricted training. ...
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... 3 In condizioni di elevata domanda metabolica (esercizio fi sico o allenamento atletico) valori inadeguati di MeO circolanti e/o cellulari potrebbero compromettere prestazioni fi siologiche ottimali 4 e richiedere un'integrazione. 5 A sua volta, una condizione carenziale è in grado di infl uire negativamente sulle performance psico-fi siche. Difatti, nonostante la valenza biologica dei MeO, i dati sulla popolazione generale mostrano che le attuali razioni dietetiche raccomandate (RDA, Recommended Dietary Allowance) spesso non vengono raggiunte. ...
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processes. De ciency in minerals and trace elements can negatively a ect physical and athletic performance. Iron plays important roles for athletic performance, including formation of hemoglobin, and optimal function of many oxidative enzymes a ecting the intracellular metabolism (i.e., the electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation pathway in mitochondria). Therefore, exercise and athletic performance is impacted by iron status, which suggests that maintaining adequate intakes of iron may be important for athletes. There is a strong body of evidence suggesting that exercise negatively a ects iron status. Not only prolonged aerobic exercise but, to some extent, short duration activities (i.e. sprints) may in uence the above mechanisms. Therefore, iron supplementation is commonly used to avoid exercise-induced perturbations of iron homeostasis and maintain the required iron stores that are necessary to address exercise needs or enhance physical performance.
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It is the joint position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine that micronutrient supplements are unnecessary for athletes who consume a diet providing high energy availability (EA) from a variety of nutrient-dense foods, but that vitamin and mineral supplements may be necessary in athletes who consume suboptimal amounts of micronutrients. However, inadequate EA, or macronutrient intake needed for energy expenditure associated with exercise, is commonly reported, especially in the female population and may result in micronutrient deficiencies. Moreover, current literature, although limited, reports that athletes’ knowledge is lacking regarding adequate macro- and micronutrient intake and needed supplementation. Correction of deficiencies via supplementation may be needed to restore physiologic processes but may not lead to improved performance. Athletes and coaches should be aware of these issues and work together to improve nutrition knowledge and determine if the athlete is at risk for low EA or nutritional deficiencies.
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American Dietetic Association: Position of the American Dietetic Association: fortification and nutritional supplements
  • American Dietetic Association