HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A New Method for Calculating Iron Content and Determining Appropriate Iron Levels in Foods

Abed Forouzesh (University of Tehran), Fatemeh Forouzesh (Islamic Azad University), Sadegh Samadi Foroushani (University of Tehran), Abolfazl Forouzesh (Islamic Azad University), A New Method for Calculating Iron Content and Determining Appropriate Iron Levels in Foods, SSRN (2022):

Calculating the iron content per 100 kcal, 100 g or 100 mL, or the reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) shows the iron content of some foods inappropriately. So, making some food choices based on them to achieve adequate iron intake may increase the risks of some chronic diseases. Calculating the iron content and determining appropriate iron levels (to achieve adequate iron intake) based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), and the proposed method were performed in 8,463 food items. Making some food choices based on the FDA and CAC per serving (the serving is derived from the RACC) or CAC per 100 g or 100 mL to achieve adequate iron intake exceeded energy needs, which could lead to overweight or obesity. Making some food choices based on the CAC per 100 kcal or CAC per 100 g or 100 mL to achieve adequate iron intake did not meet iron requirements, which could lead to iron deficiency. Some foods that met iron requirements were not appropriate food choices based on the CAC per 100 g or 100 mL or CAC per serving to achieve adequate iron intake. On the basis of the proposed method, calculating the iron content and determining appropriate iron levels in foods are performed by considering RACCs and the energy content of foods. Thus, making food choices based on the proposed method met iron requirements and did not exceed energy needs. About 96.8% of foods contained iron. On the basis of the proposed method, the average (%) of foods containing appropriate iron levels in food groups was 22.12%, of which 13.69% was the average of iron source (good source of iron) foods, and 8.43% was the average of high iron (excellent source of iron) foods. Breakfast cereals with 78.63%, beef products with 68.78%, baby foods with 50.41%, legumes and legume products with 46.17%, American Indian/Alaska Native foods with 41.79%, lamb, veal, and game products with 34.63%, and meals, entrees, and side dishes with 31.82% had the highest averages of foods containing appropriate iron levels. The highest amounts of iron were found in spleen, liver (except lingcod liver), whale meat, breakfast cereal (iron-fortified), tunicate, seal meat, lungs, cockles, walrus meat, sea lion meat, kidney, cuttlefish, beaver meat, bear meat, octopus, oyster, meat extender, heart, giblets, whelk, protein shake (iron-fortified), emu meat, Braunschweiger (a liver sausage), muskrat meat, liver cheese, squirrel meat, blue mussel, peanut butter (iron-fortified), raccoon meat, waffle (iron-fortified), soybeans, formulated bar (iron-fortified), ostrich meat, horned owl flesh, caribou meat, blackfish, chicken liver pate, dove meat, potato skin, beef tripe, liverwurst spread, pancakes (iron-fortified), soybean curd cheese, instant breakfast drink (iron-fortified), winged beans, nutrition shake (iron-fortified), whole sesame seeds, broad whitefish (head, eyes, cheeks, and soft bones), horse meat, deer meat, French toast (iron-fortified), quail meat, wild rabbit meat, beef outside skirt steak (lean), hearts of palm, mutton meat, potherb jute, opossum meat, corn flake crumbs (iron-fortified), papad, white beans, duck meat, moth beans, cookies (iron-fortified), chocolate drink (iron-fortified), pork tongue, and ascidians. Foods containing appropriate iron levels were not found in two food groups (fats and oils; spices and herbs) and were very few in three food groups (sweets; dairy and egg products; pork products).

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