More and more Americans aren’t getting enough iron in their meals, which is very concerning. Changing diets may generally be beneficial, but for this issue, we’re talking about a bad idea.
Changes in farming practices, as well as a shift away from red meat, are to blame, according to MedicalXpress. As a result, anaemia kicks in.
How iron deficiency leads to anemia
Dr. Marta Rogido and Dr. Ian Griffin said in an editorial about the new research, as quoted by MedicalXpress:
Iron deficiency remains a major public health issue even in a developed country such as the United States.
Iron helps in the creation of haemoglobin, which is a component of red blood cells that’s responsible for transporting oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. When a drop in red blood cells starts, it opens the path for anaemia. Furthermore, symptoms such as pale skin, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and others can kick in. If left untreated, health issues such as heart failure can occur.
The researchers used three government databases to observe the trends in anaemia rates. They looked at the amount of iron from the US food products and the deaths due to iron-deficiency anaemia that occurred between 1999 and 2018. For that time, the intake of iron dropped 6.6% for men and 9.5% for women. As for the level of nutrients, it fell for over 500 food products that were assessed: turkey, corn, pork, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
The reason was most likely represented by farming practices changes. More people prefer chicken instead of red meat, while the latter contains much more iron, according to study author Connie Weaver.
She added, as quoted by MedicalXpress:
Fortified grains and cereals increase iron intake, but low-carb diets and switching away from fortified cereal has also decreased iron intake.