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How can I tell if a food is a good source of calcium?

How can I tell if a food is a good source of calcium?

Adequate coverage of the recommended calcium intake is a common public health concern. Studies show that of all the dairy products, milk and yogurt are particularly beneficial sources of calcium.

120 mg of calcium

What is the price of a portion of 120 mg of Ca (i.e. 15% of the daily value) and what is the quantity of energy and nutrients that should be limited (fatty acids, added sugars and sodium) associated with calcium? This is what Adam Drewnowski et al. investigated by using a large sample of 837 dairy products: 101 milk and 326 fermented milk products, yogurts and other fresh dairy products, 162 desserts, 248 varied cheeses. Energy and nutrient values were obtained from industry sources and the French national nutrient composition database. Retail prices were from Paris supermarkets.

Calcium cost and calories

The category of milk products, followed by yogurt and fermented milk, whole or skimmed, head up the sources of calcium that combine low cost, low caloric intake and the low content of nutrients that should be limited. Sweetened yogurts and flavoured milk were ranked as the third group. Disparate results were found for cheese: double cream, soft and goat cheeses were the least beneficial. Hard cheeses (Comté) provided the most Ca per serving. Semi-hard cheeses (Camembert) and cream and blue cheeses (Roquefort) provided Ca at a cost comparable with sweetened yogurts and flavoured milks.

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Source: “Calcium requirements from dairy foods in France can be met at low energy and monetary cost” by Drewnowski A, Tang W, Brazeilles R2. (doi: 10.1017/S0007114515003669). The article appears in Br J Nutr. 2015 Dec;114(11):1920-8.

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