Foods that Deplete Magnesium

magnesium depleting foods

Excerpted with adaptations from Kimberly J Brown, MS, RD, Sports Nutritionist

Dietary intake of protein, carbohydrate and fat can affect magnesium balance.

Besides the negative effect high-protein diets have on hydration status, cardiovascular health and bone health, excessive protein intake also contributes to increased urinary loss of magnesium. Furthermore, the fat content in high-protein foods is often sufficient to reduce the absorption of magnesium.

Diets high in refined foods, processed foods or sugars have inherently low magnesium content.

Those who favour protein, fat or refined products are encouraged to transform their plate to include fruits, vegetables and whole grains with moderate amounts of lean protein. This will help promote a correct balance of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous within the body.

To compound the problem of low reported dietary intakes of magnesium and consequent risk for a magnesium deficiency, there are several food nutrients that hinder the absorption rate of magnesium.

  • Dietary fibre, despite its pronounced health benefits, slightly lowers the absorption rate of magnesium.
  • In addition, beverages containing phosphoric acid (pop or soda, diet pop), and aspartame will prevent the absorption of magnesium.
  • Additionally, the consumption of large amounts of calcium, vitamin D and zinc all decrease magnesium absorption.

Anyone favouring the intake of any of these food nutrients is encouraged to bump up their magnesium intake to compensate for reduced absorption.

  1. Lukaski, H.C., Bolonchuk, W.W., Klevay, L.M., Milne, D.B., Sandstead, H.H. (2001). Interactions among dietary fat, mineral status and performance of endurance athletes: A Case Study. Int J Spor Nutr Exerc Metab. 11(2): 186-198 [PubMed]
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