A deficiency of micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, may cause serious chronic disease, such as being overweight. Since so many people are on weight-loss diets, the authors studied whether popular diets supply essential micronutrients in the recommended amounts to avoid complicating the dieter’s deficiencies.
The authors studied blood levels of 27 micronutrients* provided by popular diets. They used the guidelines of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations for minimal requirements. They studied the Atkins for Life Diet, South Beach Diet, Best Life Diet Plan, and DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). These were studied to determine if they fulfilled the need for the 27 micronutrients. If they did not, they were studied to see how many calories of a specific diet had to be consumed to get the needed micronutrients.
None of the diets met participant needs for all 27 micronutrients. Vitamin B-7 (biotin), vitamin D, vitamin E, chromium, molybdenum and iodine were consistently low. The diets were deficient in 15 out of the total 27 micronutrients. The dieter would have to eat an average of 27,575 calories of food per day to fulfill the need for all 27 micronutrients.
If the above 6 consistently low micronutrients were removed from the calculations, the dieter would still have to eat over 3,500 calories of the diet food each day to get the rest of the nutrients in recommended amounts. Human micronutrient needs could be met on the lower calorie diet using micronutrient supplementation.
It is hard for an average person to get adequate folic acid (folate), vitamin D and vitamin E from diet alone. Micronutrient deficiency can be related to fetal birth defects, cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
CONCLUSION: People who follow popular diet plans are at risk of being micronutrient deficient and may develop chronic metabolic problems. Those on popular diet plans should consider taking supplements.
NOTE: The well-known need to take folic acid during pregnancy comes from the relationship between folic acid deficiency and neurological birth defects of the spinal cord in the fetus, such as spina bifida.
*The 27 essential micronutrients used in this study were: vitamin A, vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6, vitamin B-7 (biotin), vitamin B-9 (folate), vitamin B-12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, Ca, (calcium), Cr (chromium), Cu (copper), Fe (iron), I (iodine), K (potassium), Mg (magnesium), Mn (manganese), Mo (molybdenum), Na (sodium), P (phosphorus), Se (selenium), and Zn (zinc).
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Summary #930. nutrientmedicine