Food Sources

Typical Western diets contain approximately 6mg iron per 1000 kcal. Men and women consume approximately 16-18 and 12-14 mg daily, respectively. In the United States, 24% of dietary iron is supplied by breads, pasta, and bakery products. An additional 21% comes from (mostly fortified) cereal products. Other abundant dietary sources are red meats (9% from beef), poultry, legumes, and lentils. In countries such as the United States, fortification practices increase the influence of grain and cereal products as sources of iron. In countries without fortification to at least replace the iron lost during milling, the refinement of grain products considerably reduces dietary iron content. The populations of developing countries that eat little meat and do not include legumes or lentils as a dietary staple are at increased risk of inadequate iron intake.

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