The high amounts of phytic acid present in diets from developing countries are considered as important inhibitors of zinc (Zn) absorption. The present study aimed to assess the fractional absorption of Zn from a meal containing common Brazilian foods using the stable isotope technique.
Twelve men, aged 19–42 years, were fed a healthy experimental diet comprising lettuce, tomato, French fries, steak with onions, rice, beans, papaya, orange, pineapple, and passion fruit juice. Each subject received one intravenous dose of enriched 70Zn, and the lunch was extrinsically labelled with enriched 67Zn. Urinary 67Zn and 70Zn enrichments were assessed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
The labelled meal phytate : Zn molar ratio was very divergent with respect to chemically determined and calculated data. Subjects presented a normal Zn nutritional status before and after the study. The mean Zn absorption from the labelled meal was 30% (range 11–47%).
According to the World Health Organization parameters, the results denote a moderate/high Zn bioavailability in the evaluated meal, with a variability in the absorption percentage that is similar to other studies. The data show that a typical Brazilian meal, with an adequate energy amount and a balanced macronutrient distribution, presents a Zn bioavailability in accordance with the worldwide recommended standard.