Effect of different drinks on the absorption of non-heme iron from composite meals

Hum Nutr Appl Nutr. 1982 Apr;36(2):116-23.


A study was made on the effect of various drinks on the absorption on non-heme iron. The drinks were taken with standard meals composed of a hamburger, string beans and mashed potatoes. In each series identical meals were served to the same subject either with water or with the drink under study, labelling the meals with two different radio-iron isotopes. A reduction in iron absorption was seen when serving tea (62 per cent) or coffee (35 per cent) with the meals. Orange juice increased the iron absorption (85 per cent). Pure alcohol and wine increased only slightly the percentage absorbed. Wine often has a high iron content, which increased significantly the amount of iron absorbed (three times). Milk and beer have no significant effect. Coca-Cola increased only slightly the absorption. The present studies clearly shows that the choice of drink drunk with a meal can markedly affect the absorption of non-heme iron.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Animals
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Citrus
  • Coffee / adverse effects
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Ferrous Compounds / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Tea / adverse effects


  • Coffee
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Tea
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Iron