February 02, 2023
2 min read
Food products in the United States often include phosphate content but it is rare that the addition is described for consumers, according to data published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition.
Further, findings revealed lecithin may not be correlated with increased phosphorus content in food products.
“Previously, the [United States Department of Agriculture] USDA’s Branded Foods Product Database has been used to explore the prevalence of potassium-based additives and how sodium content claims impacts potassium additive use, however to the best of our knowledge, phosphorus additive use has not been previously reported in the Branded Foods Product Database,” Kelly Picard, BSc, RD, from the department of agricultural, food and nutritional sciences at Li Ka Shing Center for Health Innovation at the University of Alberta, and colleagues wrote. “The aim of this study was to explore phosphorus additive prevalence and type in the American food supply using the Branded Foods Product Database and explore how additives impact phosphorus content in processed foods.”
Picard and colleagues examined 239,089 products listed in the July 2018 Branded Foods Product Database, located on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. Researchers searched the ingredients of each product for phosphate-salts and/or lecithin additives, as well as sodium, potassium, calcium and iron. Additionally, researchers measured the level of food processing using Nova.
Using z-testing, researchers investigated the prevalence of additives among food categories.
Overall, 1.45% of products had available phosphorous content information, of which 51.6% contained additives. The median phosphorous content was lowest at 86 mg per 100 g in products with lecithin compared to products without phosphorous additives, where it measured at 145 mg per 100 g.
Analyses revealed adding phosphorus salts to food products correlated with increased phosphorus content, especially in ultra-processed dairy and nondairy alternatives and grain products. However, this association was not seen with lecithin.
“Therefore, limiting foods that are highly fortified with phosphorus-based salts, in particular potassium and sodium-based salts, may help limit both phosphorus intake and potassium and sodium, respectively. Greater reporting of phosphorous content is required to confidently inform dietary recommendations for people with [chronic kidney disease] CKD,” Picard and colleagues wrote. “For foods with added calcium, potassium, sodium or iron phosphates the nutrition facts table can be used to help understand how much phosphorus is also in the product. Higher amounts of calcium, potassium, sodium and iron are associated with higher amounts of phosphorus.”