Phytic Acid In Food

What is phytic acid and why should I care?

P hytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus found in many plants, contained in the bran or shell of grains, nuts and seeds. Herbivores easily digest phytic acid, but humans cannot.

What does phytic acid do?

Phytic acid binds to minerals and prevents them being absorbed into the body. These include iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, etc. We easily absorb minerals when phytic acid is not present. Phytic acid also interferes with certain enzymes such as pepsin and trypsin.

What should I do?

Minimise consumption of beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. This will allow the body to fully absorb the minerals present in foods. Nuts and seeds both contain much higher levels than either grains or beans.

Nut consumption should be limited or moderated. Daily nut consumption should be kept to a minimum. Chocolate, cocoa beans and cocoa powder are also high in phytic acid. If you eat lots of nuts or seeds, you'll be consuming very high levels of phytic acid.

Most people are unaware which foods contain phytic acid and levels are much higher in foods grown using industrial phosphate fertilizers than in compost.

Food sources of phytic acid (% of dry weight)

Food % Content
Sesame seeds5.36
Oat Meal 2.40
Beans, pinto2.38
Maize (Corn) 2.22
Soy protein2.17
Wheat flour1.37
Soy beverage 1.24
Wheat germ1.14
Whole wheat bread1.05
Brown rice 0.99
Polished rice 0.60
Chickpeas 0.56
New potato0.34

List courtesy of Wikipedia: