Vitamin and Mineral Consumption in The American Diet

Vitamin and Mineral Consumption in The American Diet

A Public Health Concern

Not receiving all your daily recommended about of vitamins and minerals can lead to a number of issues. Studies show that a majority of Americans have micronutrient inadequacies in a number of vitamins and minerals or micronutrients. (Macronutrients are nutrients required in large amounts—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc—while micronutrients are the recommended vitamins and minerals required in small amounts). This article will discuss what micronutrients Americans receive inadequate amounts of, what some effects of such inadequacies might be, and how ilixer can help.

Popular Diets and Micronutrient Inadequacies

One study looks at the suggested daily menus from popular diet plans: Atkins for Life diet, The South Beach Diet, and the DASH diet. [1] The study found that all three of these popular diet plans failed to provide the minimum reference daily intake (RDI) for all 27 micronutrients that analyzed. [1] For someone to reach the RDI following these diets, they would have to reach an average caloric intake of about 27,575. [1]

The vitamins found to be consistently low were vitamin B7, vitamin D, vitamin E, chromium, iodine, and molybdenum. [1] Even if these consistently low required micronutrients were ignored, for someone to reach the RDI of the remaining 21, they would require an average caloric intake of about 3,475. [1] The RDI for caloric intake is only 2,000. As these diets tout themselves to be for weight loss, it is interesting to consider that someone would require as much as 27,575 calories per day to reach 100% of their RDI. Numbers do talk.

Why is it that some of the most popular weight loss diets throw RDI consideration out of the window? It is interesting, especially considering that failure to meet RDI has been linked to an increased likelihood of being overweight or obese… [1]

Link Between Micronutrient Inadequacy and Disease

In fact, several studies have shown a strong correlation between nutrient inadequacy and obesity. [1] One study showed an 80.8% increased likelihood of being overweight or obese in subjects that were micronutrient inadequate. [1] Furthermore, an inadequate intake of certain micronutrients is an established factor in heart diseases, birth defects, cancer, and osteoporosis. [1]

It is interesting to consider that obesity can lead to some of these same issues, namely heart disease. Someone who is obese might opt for one of the earlier mentioned diet plans to curb their obesity in order to decrease their likelihood of heart disease. However, following such a diet might help them to lose weight but might also cause micronutrient inadequacies. These very micronutrient inadequacies might then cause heart disease. This is the “weight disease trap” obese individuals find themselves in: their obesity can cause heart disease but the diet to eliminate their obesity problems might then cause heart disease.

Americans with Chronic Conditions

In addition, one-half of American adults have at least one preventable chronic disease. Think about that: one-half of American adults. Even decades of public health messages encouraging Americans to eat a balanced diet have not created any behavioral changes. [3] One study found that children and adults with high intakes of added sugars (>25% of energy intake) had lower than the RDI for several micronutrients. [3] Furthermore, about 13% of the US population had such a high intake of added sugars. [3] This suggests a large number of Americans that may be at risk for micronutrient inadequacies.

Micronutrient Inadequacy vs. Deficiency

However, it should be noted that most Americans do not have micronutrient deficiencies which are seen in the developing world primarily. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to death. Americans we are discussing have micronutrient inadequacies whose diets exceed what is considered to be deficient but consume less than the RDI. However, micronutrient inadequacy is no laughing matter.

In the short term, micronutrient inadequacies can cause general fatigue, reduced ability to fight infection or impaired cognitive functioning. [3] In the long-term, micronutrient inadequacies can increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and age-related eye disease. [3] Notably, a number of underconsumed nutrients have been labeled “shortfall nutrients” with some being labeled as “nutrients of public health concern.” [3] The following table from Oregon State illustrates the percent less than the RDI that Americans consume:

Table 1. NHANES 2007-2010: Usual Micronutrient Intake from Food Sources and Prevalence of Micronutrient Inadequacies Among US Residents Ages ≥4 Years
Micronutrient Mean Daily Intake from Food* % < EAR
 Folate 542 μg DFE 9.5
 Niacin 24.7 mg 1.1
 Riboflavin 2.2 mg 2.1
 Thiamin 1.6 mg 4.7
 Vitamin A 621 μg RAE 43.0
 Vitamin B6 2.0 mg 9.5
 Vitamin B12 5.3 μg 2.5
 Vitamin C 84.0 mg 38.9
 Vitamin D 4.9 μg 94.3
 Vitamin E# 7.4 mg 88.5
 Vitamin K 85.2 μg 66.9
 Calcium 987 mg 44.1
 Copper 1.3 μg 4.2
 Iron 15.1 mg 7.4
 Magnesium 286 mg 52.2
 Phosphorus 1,350 mg 1.0
 Potassium 2,595 mg 100
 Selenium 108 μg 0.3
 Sodium 3,433 mg 0.1
 Zinc 11.7 mg 11.7
 Choline†† 315 mg 91.7
*includes enriched and fortified food
% < AI; DFE, dietary folate equivalents
††considered an essential nutrient but not strictly a micronutrient
Abbreviations: DFE, dietary folate equivalents; RAE, retinol activity equivalents


Such results should be alarming as a number of micronutrients are not being consumed at the minimum RDI. So how do you think your RDI consumption stacks up to the average Americans?

Where ilixer Comes in

ilixer aims to make this an easy process. Our formula meets the minimum RDI for all micronutrients and macronutrients in one simple to drink powder. We see ourselves at the forefront of the food revolution through our unique formula, including organic berries and organic kale with taste-sensitivity in mind. If you’re hesitant to make the plunge into a new way to eat, try our sampler pack. It provides you with a whole day’s worth of meals so you can either try ilixer for all your meals in one day or try ilixer for one meal on five different days—it’s totally up to you!

If you have any questions about ilixer please do not hesitate to reach out to us at!





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