The conflict between corn flakes and milk

milk versus corn flakes

It is a well known science that calcium interferes with absorption of iron. Basically these two minerals compete for a common binding site on the membrane surface so often people are advised to not consume food sources/ supplements containing these two minerals simultaneously.

What is important to know also is that iron is present in two different forms- heme iron and non-heme iron

  • Heme iron is present in animal foods (meat, seafood, and poultry ) and well absorbed by the body
  • Non-heme iron is present in the plant food sources and only2-20% of it is absorbed by the body. Consuming vitamin C rich foods along with non heme iron containing foods enhances non heme iron absorption

In 1992, researchers stated that addition of milk, milkshake or cheese to common meals such as pizza or hamburger meals reduced iron absorption by 50-60%. Hence, they recommended that individuals with higher iron requirements such as children, teenagers and women of childbearing age should avoid intake of dairy products with main meals

But in 2004 -2005, studies showed that consumption of milk / yoghurt with the meals or calcium fortified foods plant-based diets did not inhibit the absorption of iron or its bioavailability (Grinder-Pedersen L et al.2004, Rosado JL et al 2005).
Cornflakes or breakfast cereals contain the non-heme form of iron . So if one really needs to ensure fair amount of absorption of iron from these cereals then it should be consumed with orange/ fresh lime juice.

Oatmeal in milk is a better combination as oats provide good amounts of fiber 11g as compared to that from cornflakes (3.3g) and can blend well with dried and fresh fruits.


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