Common Food Additive Derails Good Exercise Habits - Neuroscience NewsPhosphate is plentiful in fruits and vegetables in its organic form, which does not cause problems because it is not absorbed. However, the body readily absorbs inorganic phosphate, and most people are consuming far too much of it. For example, cola drinks, processed meats, and prepared frozen foods typically contain this additive. When the researchers studied mice that were fed a high-phosphate diet, they found measureable changes in their ability to exercise. “We measured their oxygen uptake during exercise and found that their capacity for movement was much lower. The mice were unable to generate enough fatty acids to feed their muscles,” Dr. Vongpatanasin said. The researchers also looked for gene changes and found that many genes involved in skeletal muscle metabolism had changed levels after 12 weeks of the high phosphate diet. In addition, the study analyzed data from participants in the Dallas Heart Study who wore physical activity monitors for seven days. The multiethnic participants, ages 18 to 65, had no kidney or heart problems and were not on medications. Researchers examined blood test results in this group and verified that the response to phosphate in humans was similar to that in mice. Higher phosphate levels were linked to reduced time spent in moderate to vigorous exercise, while sedentary time increased as phosphate levels climbed.