Phytic acid (PA) in food: Good and bad
Phytic acids (phytates) are mostly found in fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. It bonds with minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and copper. When these bonds occur the minerals become bio-unavailable. In other words, the phytate-mineral bond is usually insoluble and therefore may not be absorbed by the body. Phytates may also interfere with the digestion of protein. So there's a potential for harmful effects.
Phytates may be somewhat reduced by way of food processing. For example: White breads contain 0.03 to 0.23% while whole wheat breads contain 0.43 to 1.05 %. White rice (enriched) contains 0.23%, brown rice (long grain) 0.84 to 0.99 % and wild rice 2.20%
The author speculates that phytic acid may be helpful to diabetics because it binds to starch and may help to prevent digestion/absorption. But what actually happens depends on the overall composition of the meal.
Phytates can help to reduce the formation of kidney stones because it bonds to calcium and removes it.
It can help protect against cancer, reduce cholesterol and lipids. Phytic acid (in high fiber foods) is a phytochemical.
However, the author of "Food Fhytates" states that further research is needed.
Last edited by JohnR41; 02-16-2010 at 10:19 AM.
Reason: Added nuts to the list of foods containing phytates.