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Is the phytic acid in coffee an issue?

by (25)
Updated about 17 hours ago
Created March 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I know there's phytic acid in coffee beans, but is there enough to worry about in brewed coffee? Doesn't the roasting/hot brewing inactivate any of it? I drink a cup every morning along with my breakfast of meat and vegetables and all my vitamin/mineral supplements (magnesium, chromium, B vitamins). Am I wasting food/pills/money?

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2668 · March 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

wow, thanks. sounds like the phytic acid is still an issue, even when properly prepared. bummer!

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25 · March 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I don't eat grains or legumes, so coffee's my main phytate source. Assuming brewed coffee has substantial phytate, that is.

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39841 · March 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

"120gm of tortillas made from lime-soaked white corn"

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2668 · March 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

hi travis, do you happen to remember if the tortillas in the study you mention were corn of flour tortillas? i'm trying to find info on whether the nixtamalization process removes any of the phytic acid, or if it only makes the b vitamins more available. thanks.

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5 Answers

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39841 · March 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

In general, it'd likely be a good idea to not focus too much on that sort of thing since we don't have that many good studies about it. I've read that calcium-phytate complexes are hydrolyzed by the microflora on the way out, the calcium from which can be absorbed by the colon. Hard to know if we can expand that to other complexes etc. There's also the fact that the solubility of these complexes is dependent upon the pH of the solution etc.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this crap, but the take home message is basically that copper, zinc and iron (in that order) have the greatest affinity for phytate. As such, the balances of those minerals are most sensitive to a high phytate diet (which none of us probably eats unless we're heavy into nuts and legumes, and even then, it's a meal-specific effect).

My advice would simply be that when you're eating something that is highly mineral-dense, especially if it contains substantial amounts of those 3 (oysters and liver, i'm looking at you) then it may be worthwhile to eat no phytate whatsoever in the meal. I saw a study once involving the consumption of oysters and the subsequent effect on serum zinc when eaten alone, with beans, and with tortillas. Alone, serum zinc had a substantial spike and AUC. With beans, it was about half that and with tortillas, there was no elevation whatsoever! Incidentally, I just ate some sauteed oysters a few minutes ago and I did so on an empty stomach. If you have a probable mineral insufficiency that you are trying to correct (I don't in this case, but still like to get my money's worth) then it would behoove you to consider this sort of thing. Overall though, it's probably immaterial.

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2668 · March 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

hi travis, do you happen to remember if the tortillas in the study you mention were corn of flour tortillas? i'm trying to find info on whether the nixtamalization process removes any of the phytic acid, or if it only makes the b vitamins more available. thanks.

Medium avatar
39841 · March 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

"120gm of tortillas made from lime-soaked white corn"

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468
2668 · March 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

wow, thanks. sounds like the phytic acid is still an issue, even when properly prepared. bummer!

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468
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2668 · March 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM

just about every plant food contains phytic acid. you could spend life worrying about it, or just cut the grains and take a deep breath.

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25 · March 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I don't eat grains or legumes, so coffee's my main phytate source. Assuming brewed coffee has substantial phytate, that is.

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17392 · March 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Roasting destroys most of the lectins, phytates aren't going to be free, they're already bound to magnesium, phosphorous, and other minerals, and since you're eating meat, it can help bind to iron so you don't get too much iron.

I wouldn't worry too much- just don't drink a whole pot at a time. :) Keep in mind, coffee beans aren't legumes although the word "bean" is used. They're nowhere near as harmful. Worry more about pesticide residues and mold content: buy good organic whole beans, either roast them yourself or buy and consume them fresh.

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75 · March 17, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Unless you are drinking a ton of coffee daily, I see no need to worry. Keep in mind that even vegetables, particularly broccoli, have a little phytic acid.

Drinking coffee in between meals, rather than with them, could be an option if you do drink a lot of coffee throughout the day.

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5 · March 17, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Only if you have some physical ailment that you're looking to cure and you suspect it may be due to phytic acid.

Personally I'm sensitive to tannic acid in coffee, tea, wine etc. so if I drink them my stomach bloats up like crazy.

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