Phosphorus in the Diet

The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus [Paperback on Amazon]

The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus [Paperback on Amazon]

Jenny Ruhl, as usual, provides some practical and useful information on her Diabetes101 blog, in today’s post entitled When You Cut Carbs, Don’t Raise Phosphate Levels.

I wrote a short blurb about a year ago on my own experience with phosphoric acid, so I have some observations that may complement or add to Jenny’s article.

One of the things I discovered in my research in the early days of my low-carb journey is that you can’t have a phosphorus deficiency without having several other more serious deficiencies first. If you get enough protein in your diet, you get enough phosphorus. Notwithstanding the misleading ad for a supplement called Posture-D that has the punchline “Calcium without phosphorus is preposterous!”

It’s trivially easy to get way too much phosphorus. All you have to do is drink one 12-ounce can of cola per day. That, all by itself, will provide too much phosphorus for your body to use properly. And the only mechanism the body has to dump excess phosphorus is to combine it with calcium. Which was the cause of my RLS, and probably some other health problems.

Ah, simple… all you have to do is take a calcium supplement, and that fixes the problem, right?

Calcium and Phosphorus in Health and Disease (Modern Nutrition) [Hardcover]

[Hardcover on Amazon]

Not quite. The body has only a limited ability to absorb calcium, and one cola beverage per day is enough to completely overwhelm that capacity. In short, calcium supplementation is of very limited usefulness. You must do things that improve your body’s ability to absorb calcium (load bearing exercise) — and even that is not enough to offset the loss caused by that single daily can of soda pop. It’s basically osteoporosis in a can. Or kidney damage. Or hardened arteries. Or all of the above.

And I have known people who drank a half-gallon of the stuff daily. (cringe)

As Jenny points out, phosphorus is one of those things that is nearly impossible to track, simply because there is no labeling requirement for it. But I suspect that merely cutting out (completely) cola and other beverages containing phosphoric acid will go a long way toward prevention of the problems of kidney and heart disease associated with excess phosphorus.

At least, I hope so.

About Mr. N=1

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