- NEW YORK (Reuters
Health) - People may be consuming too much iron and folate from fortified
cereals, according to US government researchers. Some of these cereals
contain more of these nutrients than their label states, and most people
eat more than the recommended serving size, the researchers report.
- Eating two bowls of cereal can be equivalent to taking
two vitamins, a spokesperson from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
told Reuters Health. ``You can easily take in several times the daily value
just from cereal alone,'' she said.
- The daily value (DV) per serving size on manufacturer's
labels is based on the 18 milligrams of iron and 400 micrograms of folic
acid recommended for daily consumption by the Food and Nutrition Board
of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Dr. Paul Whittaker and colleagues from the FDA's Center
for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in Washington, DC compared nutrition
information from the labels of 26 ready-to-eat cereals and three hot cereals
with the actual amounts of iron and folate the cereals contained, as determined
by chemical analysis.
- The investigators found that 21 of the cereals contained
120% or more iron than was specified on the label, according to the report
published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
- And getting too much iron can be harmful, according to
FDA officials. ``Studies have shown that higher iron status in males may
be associated with an increased risk for cancer and heart disease,'' the
- Fourteen of the 27 cereals that listed the amount of
added folate actually contained more than 150% above what was listed on
the label, the report indicates. The remaining cereals had folate levels
that ranged from 98% to 144% of the manufacturer's claim.
- Previous studies have shown that pregnant women who take
folic acid may reduce their baby's risk of neural tube defects--birth defects
affecting the brain and spine. Again, however, more may not necessarily
- ``It is very well-intentioned, but it is not necessarily
good that females are eating so much folate from so many different sources,''
the FDA spokesperson said. Too much folate can mask anemia due to vitamin
B12 deficiency, the authors note.
- Whittaker and his team also compared the 30 gram manufacturer's
serving size with the actual servings poured out by 72 study participants
and found that most people ate more than two times the listed serving.
Most males served themselves about 75 grams of cereal and most females
served themselves 56 grams.
- In such cases, when combined with other types of fortified
foods and vitamins eaten throughout the day, individuals can easily consume
as much as 400% of recommended levels of iron and folate, the FDA spokesperson
- In light of the findings, the spokesperson said that
consumers should be aware that because they are eating more than the manufacturer's
serving size, they are also getting more iron and folate than listed for
the recommended portions. Also, ``adult males should look for cereals that
have no iron or low amounts.''
- SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
- From Byron Miller
- Jeff -
- Years ago when I was in high school, my physics teacher
put a bunch of cereal (Total, I believe) in a beaker, filled the beaker
with water, and then stirred the mixture using a device which spun a
magnet in the bottom of the beaker. Lo and behold, when he pulled the
magnet out after several minutes of mixing, it was covered with IRON SHAVINGS
!! No joke. He did this experiment every year with the same results,
and even called the company to complain. Just thought you'd like to know...
- Love your site, and your show!!
- Byron in Venice,