BOSTON (CBS) — Most Americans don’t get enough exercise but new research finds a food additive common in the Western diet could be to blame.

Inorganic phosphate is used to keep foods fresh longer and enhance flavor. It’s found in foods like processed meats, canned fish, baked goods, and sodas. Up to a quarter of U.S. adults consume three to four times more phosphate than what is recommended.

In one study, researchers at the University of Texas found that mice fed extra phosphate spent less time on the treadmill and had a lower ability to burn fat.

In another study, they looked at over 1,600 healthy people and found that higher levels of phosphate in the blood was associated with less time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

While experts say more research is needed, they also say it might be time to include phosphate on food labels.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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