Food Science/phytates

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Question
This question relates to all this talk about trying to avoid phytic acid (phytates) in food (e.g. grains, beans, nuts) because it supposedly blocks mineral absorption, things like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc.  By avoiding phytic acid foods, I've seen everything from curing tooth decay to curing all sorts of other diseases in the body.  I thought it was just the opposite for phytic acid, where it prevents diseases and a host of other things in the body.  I thought these were really good foods to try and eat every day, and this should make up the bulk of your diet.  Is this something to worry about?  Are important minerals not being absorbed?  How much scientific proof is there to this?  I try to take my vitamins every morning with breakfast since it was always told to do this for best absorption.  Now I'm thinking twice about this.  I like my bowl of oatmeal every morning, but am now worried vitamins/minerals are not being absorbed.  I also like to eat my grains.  Is hard to really know what's truth and not truth out there on the internet, since things many times seem so valid.  Thanks.

Answer
Dave,
     Phytic acid can indeed block the adsorption of certain minerals.  Thus if you have a diet that is high in phytic acid and low in minerals you may have a problem.  However a bowl of oatmeal each day will not cause a problem and indeed is probably quite good for you.  As you have found the information on the internet must be taken with caution.  Even though it may be accurate it does not always put thing in the proper balance.  Your best approach is to eat balanced diet.  It is only when you overdue things that you can get into trouble.

Carl

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Carl Hoseney

Expertise

Properties and structure of cereal grains. Milling of grains and their processing into food or feed. The chemistry of cereal grains and what happens as grains are processed.

Experience

15 years with USDA as a research chemist. 25 years as a professor at Kansas State University and 3 years as President of R&R Research Services, Inc.

Publications
Mainly Cereal Chemistry but many others also




Education/Credentials
PhD in cereal chemistry

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