There is no shortage for health clubs, gyms, Zumba classes or fitness instructors but what all they lack are a client base. It’s a welcome change to see early morning walkers, joggers or runners occupying the roads or parks but these people don’t even sum up to a quarter of the population of any nation. Laziness, lack of time and unavailability of resources can always be blamed but a new research shows that a food additive common in the Western diet could be blamed for this.
Phosphate: Playing Tricks on our Health
A new study has found that food additives present in our all-time favorite meat, soda and other processed foods-phosphate-might be the culprit behind our lack of inclination to exercise. Phosphate is a particle that comes from the mineral phosphorus that is needed by the body for building strong teeth and bones, repairing them, helping nerves function and making muscles contract. It is naturally found in nuts, eggs, dairy products, beans, meats and fish and is healthy for our consumption. But almost 50% of our favorite foods such as cola drinks, other soft drinks, frozen foods, packaged meat, ham, sausages and bakery products contain inorganic phosphate which is generally added to increase shelf life, flavor or appearance of the product. There is no denial that most of us drink and eat most of these foods and end up adding almost 2-3 times more than the admissible phosphate limits to our body.
The latest study researched on two groups of healthy mice which were fed similar diets with the only difference that one group was fed as much as three times of phosphate (equivalent to the amount consumed by adults) compared to the other group. On completion of the 12-week study period the mice which consumed a high-phosphate diet spent less time on the treadmill, had decreased cardiac fitness and an impaired fat-burning mechanism. Above all, they showed changes in more than 5000 genes that help in processing fatty acids and cell metabolism. The second part of the study researched on humans and found a similar correlation between increased phosphate intake and decreased activity levels.
The study group analyzed more than 1,600 participants monitoring their activity with a fitness tracker for seven days and found that increased serum phosphate levels in the blood were associated with less time spent in physical activity (moderate or vigorous) and increased time spent on staying sedentary.
Kidneys regulate the amount of phosphate present in the body flushing out the excess quantity as urine. But, people with impaired kidneys cannot process this and the phosphate remains in the body becoming a risk to our health. Impaired kidneys can cause more damage to our health and for a list of the possible health consequences please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. There are studies that show that presence of excess phosphate is linked with increase in risk of cardiovascular death and death from other causes too.
Such are the ill effects of phosphate that its high time we insist food marketing industries to clearly label foods denoting the quantity of phosphate they contain. For instance, a block of Parmesan cheese does contain phosphorus (being a dairy product) but when the same cheese is sold in shredded or grated form manufacturers do add additional phosphate to keep them from sticking to each other. This itself shows how predominantly phosphate is added to foods and comes as an eye opener. People are not much aware of the potential consequences of phosphate as a food additive and its high time that we start observing our intake of dietary phosphate in any form.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.