• ATP;
  • obesity;
  • phosphorus


Overweight and obesity are becoming global health problems. Although genetics certainly plays a role, weight gain is ultimately the result of a failure in the balance between energy expenditure and energy intake. Obesity during the past few decades was paralleled with several changes in dietary habits favouring low phosphorus consumption. This is believed to compromise adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production that is involved in the regulation of energy metabolism. Ingestion of high-carbohydrate–low phosphorus food is known to increase insulin release, to simultaneously stimulate peripheral uptake of phosphorus and the phosphorylation of many compounds. This creates a competition for phosphorus that compromises its availability for ATP production, possibly translated into low diet-induced thermogenesis. Moreover, reduced hepatic ATP production is believed to be transmitted through neural afferents to the central nervous system, resulting in an increase in food intake. On the other hand, the positive relation between phosphorus and red blood cell 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, which reduces oxygen affinity to haemoglobin, would be expected to reduce the capacity for physical activity. In line with that, plasma phosphorus status was reported to be inversely related to body weight. Adequate intakes of phosphorus are thus potentially protective against rising obesity epidemic across the globe.