4 in 5 don't get enough zinc or vitamin E

‘Significant’ shortfall of certain nutrients in Spanish diet

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Many Spanish people do not meet recommended intakes for nutrients including of zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E, according to new research.

A significant percentage of Spanish participants in a key dietary study do not meet the recommended intakes of zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E. Other nutrients are also lacking in their diet, say researchers from the University of Grenada and other Spanish institutions.

Writing in Nutrients, the researchers evaluated dietary intakes of zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, E and C, as well as the food that contributes to their sources of intakes of the nutrients in the Spanish people taking part in the ANIBES study.

The authors found that more than half of the study group did not get enough zinc or vitamin A, C and E - with 83% of Spanish people tested lacking zinc and 80% with low intakes of vitamin E. 

“A significant percentage of the Spanish ANIBES population does not meet the recommended intakes for zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E; a reasonable percentage of people does not meet the recommendations of vitamin C; and a low percentage of people does not meet the selenium recommendations," said the team. 

Study details

Data was taken from the Spanish ANIBES (Anthropometry, Intake and Energy Balance in Spain) study, which consisted of 2,285 men and women aged between nine and 75, who were not on a prescribed diet and had healthy lifestyles.

According to the team, 56% of those surveyed failed to meet the European recommendation for vitamin C, while 74% had low intakes of vitamin A. Furthermore, 15% were identified as failing to meet selenium recommendations.

Just 17% of those in the study met zinc recommendations, while 20% met vitamin E guidelines - meaning 83% and 80%, respectively, were found to miss recommended intake targets.

The authors of the current study noted that while national diet surveys arethe most common tool to evaluate nutrient intakes of a population, methodologies are often flawed because participants tend to misreport their own energy intake – a well-documented occurrence in studies which rely on self-reporting.

Source: Nutrients
Volume 9, Issue 7, pii: E697  Published online  doi: 10.3390/nu9070697
"Reported Dietary Intake and Food Sources of Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamins A, E and C in the Spanish Population: Findings from the ANIBES Study”
Authors: Josune Olza, et al

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