The recommended dietary phosphorus intake is exceeded in the typical Western diet. However, few studies have been conducted on the bioavailability and metabolic consequences of dietary phosphorus from different food sources. In this study, acute effects of dietary phosphorus from three different food sources and a phosphate supplement on calcium and bone metabolism were investigated. Sixteen healthy women aged 20-30 years were randomized to five controlled 24-hour study sessions, each subject serving as her own control. At the control session, calcium intake was ca. 250 mg and phosphorus intake ca. 500 mg. During the other four sessions, phosphorus intake was about 1,500 mg, 1,000 mg of which was obtained from meat, cheese, whole grains, or a phosphate supplement, respectively. The foods served were exactly the same during the phosphorus sessions and the control session; only phosphorus sources varied. Markers of calcium and bone metabolism were followed. Analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to compare the study sessions. Only the phosphate supplement increased serum parathyroid hormone (S-PTH) concentration compared with the control session (P = 0.031). Relative to the control session, meat increased markers of both bone formation (P = 0.045) and bone resorption (P = 0.049). Cheese decreased S-PTH (P = 0.0001) and bone resorption (P = 0.008). These data suggest that the metabolic response was different for different foods.