While we’ve heard a lot on the news about obesity, what we haven’t heard is the problem of nutrition inadequacy. People are eating more, gaining weight, and are still undernourished, according to a 2011 study called “What America’s Missing.”
The new research, which analyzed government food consumption survey data, indicates that 9 out of 10 Americans fall short of certain key nutrients in their diets. These shortages could put their health at risk. The report identifies a total of 11 “gap nutrients,” meaning nutrient intakes from the diet fall short of the recommended amounts (Daily Values). These include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, fiber (the top 4 nutrients of concern), vitamins A, B-6 and B-12, zinc, folate, magnesium and iron.
So where do we get these nutrients? Here is a brief list of food sources:
- Calcium: dairy products, sardines, broccoli, tofu
- Vitamin D: Fatty fish & cod liver oil,
- Potassium: Potato/sweet potato, tomatoes, beans
- Fiber: whole grains, beans, whole fruits & vegetables
- Vitamin A: Liver, eggs, milk
- Vitamin B6: Fortified cereals, wheat bran & germ, liver
- Vitamin B12: Liver, beef, fortified cereals
- Zinc: Beef, pumpkin seeds & nuts
- Folate: Liver, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals
- Magnesium: Nuts, soybeans, spinach
- Iron: Liver, beef, tuna
If you are not consistently incorporating these foods in your diet, you may be falling short of the Daily Value intake. While it is essential to include healthy foods that help supply the most nutrients, the message of “you can get it all in your diet” no longer seems to be true. With the exception of fiber, all of the other gap nutrients can be found in a good high quality daily multivitamin, which is a formula designed to help bridge nutritional gaps.