Check labels for phosphorus additives in fresh meat

July 29, 2009 in Food Companies, Manufacturing and Trends, Nutrition Labeling, Nutrition Topics in the News

Check labels for phosphorus additives in fresh meat

Food companies often "enhance" fresh meat and poultry products with the minerals phosphorus and potassium, say food researchers from New Jersey.

This could be a big problem for people with kidney disease who must limit how much phosphorus and potassium they eat, say the researchers.

The kidneys filter waste products and excess minerals and water out of the blood, and pass these out of the body as urine. This ability is compromised in people with kidney disease.

High blood levels of phosphorus can lead to heart disease, bone disease, and even premature death in kidney patients who receive dialysis to cleanse their blood of these minerals.

In this study, researchers looked at the phosphate and potassium content of 36 "enhanced" and additive-free uncooked meat and poultry products they found in local grocery stores. (Phosphate is a salt compound that includes phosphorus.)

The "enhanced" products had an average phosphate concentration that was 28 percent higher than additive-free products, with some products' phosphate content nearly 100 percent higher.

The daily requirement for phosphorus ranges from 700 milligrams to 1,250 milligrams per day for adults, and for potassium it is 4.7 grams per day however people receiving kidney dialysis must be even more careful about these nutrients.

The key message: people with kidney disease need to look closely at food labels - even for what appears to be fresh meat, says the study author.

This report was published in the July 23 issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.