BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- More than 30 percent of Chinese people’s diets contain more aluminum than recommended, research has found.
Excessive ingestion of aluminum can lead to neurological and respiratory problems and affect bone development.
Some 40 percent of excess aluminum in Chinese diets is found in flour, according to research by nutritionist and food safety expert Chen Junshi for a food safety forum.
Baking powders, such as alum, added to flour are mainly to blame, say experts.
While they help make flour products look and taste better, they are overused by some Chinese food manufacturers.
However, as aluminum-free baking powders are more expensive, many manufacturers are reluctant to change.
While the World Health Organization recommends a weekly intake of no more than 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, 32.5 percent Chinese people ingest levels above this, researchers found.
Some 44 percent of the excess amount comes from flour, followed by steamed bread (24 percent) and fried dough sticks (10 percent) — a traditional snack for breakfast.
People in northern China — who traditionally prefer flour-based products such as noodles — absorb four times as much aluminum as those in the south, the study found.
Northern Chinese have an average aluminum consumption of 2.9mg/kg of body weight — almost 1.5 times the recommended amount.
And 43 percent of children aged between four and six eat 2.6 times the maximum recommended amount, Guangzhou Daily reported.
Research was based on 6,600 samples of 11 kinds of food.
The China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment aims to reduce the average weekly intake of aluminum from 1.8mg/kg of body weight to less than 0.8mg/kg.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)