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A re-analysis of the iron content of plant-based foods in the United Kingdom

  • Sylvaine F. A. Bruggraber (a1), Thomas P. E. Chapman (a2), Christopher W. Thane (a1), Ashley Olson (a1), Ravin Jugdaohsingh (a1) and Jonathan J. Powell (a1)...

Abstract

In the UK contemporary estimates of dietary Fe intakes rely upon food Fe content data from the 1980s or before. Moreover, there has been speculation that the natural Fe content of foods has fallen over time, predominantly due to changes in agricultural practices. Therefore, we re-analysed common plant-based foods of the UK diet for their Fe content (the ‘2000s analyses’) and compared the values with the most recent published values (the ‘1980s analyses’) and the much older published values (the ‘1930s analyses’), the latter two being from different editions of the McCance and Widdowson food tables. Overall, there was remarkable consistency between analytical data for foods spanning the 70 years. There was a marginal, but significant, apparent decrease in natural food Fe content from the 1930s to 1980s/2000s. Whether this represents a true difference or is analytical error between the eras is unclear and how it could translate into differences in intake requires clarification. However, fortificant Fe levels (and fortificant Fe intake based upon linked national data) did appear to have increased between the 1980s and 2000s, and deserve further attention in light of recent potential concerns over the long-term safety and effectiveness of fortificant Fe. In conclusion, the overall Fe content of plant-based foods is largely consistent between the 1930s and 2000s, with a fall in natural dietary Fe content negated or even surpassed by a rise in fortificant Fe but for which the long-term effects are uncertain.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Dr Sylvaine F. A. Bruggraber, fax +44 1223 437515, email sylvaine.bruggraber@mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk

References

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Keywords

A re-analysis of the iron content of plant-based foods in the United Kingdom

  • Sylvaine F. A. Bruggraber (a1), Thomas P. E. Chapman (a2), Christopher W. Thane (a1), Ashley Olson (a1), Ravin Jugdaohsingh (a1) and Jonathan J. Powell (a1)...

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