US drinks not delivering enough nutrients, study

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Vitamin

While more and more beverages are fortified, it would appear
Americans are still not deriving nutritional benefit from their
drinks in line with their calorie intake from these goods. yesterday reported on the What America Drinks report, which was commissioned by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), and found that beverages account for 22 percent of calories and half of the added sugar content in the average American diet.

Other data from the study reveals some vitamins and minerals appear much more prevalently in beverages than others, raising the question of whether companies should look into expanding certain functional ingredients into the mainstream beverage market.

In terms of delivery through beverages, calcium is far and above the most prominent player.

Beverages accounted for more than one third of all calcium consumed by Americans, according to the report. Over 25 percent derive this calcium from milk, and less than 5 percent get it from other beverages such as juices.

The next most important nutrient actor in beverages was vitamin A. Beverages provided 22 percent of the vitamin A in American diets, with plain milk as the top beverage source.

Next in line was phosphorus, which inched slightly ahead of vitamin C. Vitamin C in beverages accounted for 46 percent of the total dietary intake of the nutrient. Vitamin C is the success story of non-milk beverages, which account for the majority of this category.

Zinc in beverages accounted for 11 percent of total zinc intakes, with milk making-up 6 percent of the total intake.

Seven percent of vitamin E intake was derived from beverages, followed by folate. This low rate could give more clout to the argument of proponents of folate fortification for women of child-bearing age, and open up the avenue of beverages for this nutrient.

Finally, Americans consumed seven percent of their dietary iron from beverages. Fruit juices were the top source at two percent.

What America Drinks analyzed data from over 10,000 Americans aged four and older who participated in the government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002.

Related topics: Minerals, Vitamins & premixes

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