Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whole Grains and Calcium

While doing research on the benefits of a Paleo Diet, I stumbled upon a site which explains how cereal grains causes calcium depletion and people who are eating high fiber grains can be at risk. Dogs fed oatmeal in the 30's got rickets and it was discovered that oatmeal and other whole grains contain phytic acid which binds to minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium and form phytates. According to "phytate was the dietary factor responsible for inhibition of calcium absorption by oatmeal as well as the induction of rickets in dogs." The public has been encouraged to eat whole grains because it is healthier, but for certain people who are low in minerals this recommendation might have to be reconsidered. A diet high in fiber from fruits and vegetables seems not to have this problem so loading up on fiber from these paleo sources wouldn't deplete minerals. Interestingly, soaking and fermenting seem to reduce phytic acid so if you do plan on eating oatmeal or other grains everyday for breakfast and are worried about calcium absorption, you could try soaking them to reduce the phytic acid.


alison said...

I wonder if the whole grains were gluten grains which can lead to malabsorption of nutrients. This is the case with some people with celiac disease -- they don't absorb calcium leading to osteoporosis or other bone problems. Just a thought!

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