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Chromium in Food

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Food NameChromium
Beer, ale0.7
Beer, bitter0.4
Beer, lager0.7
Beer, carbohydrate-modified0.7
Beer, stout0.7
Beer, reduced alcohol or light beer0.7
Beer, low alcohol (<1% alcohol v/v)0.7
Beer, draught0.7
Wine, red2.5
Tea, regular, brewed from leaf or teabags, without milk0.3
Water, tap0.0
Beverage base, chocolate flavour, added minerals calcium & iron & vitamins A, B1, B2, C & D62.6
Beverage, chocolate flavour, from base (Milo), with regular fat milk6.5
Fruit drink, 35% orange juice, added vitamin C0.5
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Chromium

information from the National Institutes of Health

Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts, although its mechanisms of action in the body and the amounts needed for optimal health are not well defined. It is found primarily in two forms: 1) trivalent (chromium 3+), which is biologically active and found in food, and 2) hexavalent (chromium 6+), a toxic form that results from industrial pollution. The information here focuses exclusively on trivalent (3+) chromium.

Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body. In 1957, a compound in brewers' yeast was found to prevent an age-related decline in the ability of rats to maintain normal levels of sugar (glucose) in their blood. Chromium was identified as the active ingredient in this so-called "glucose tolerance factor" in 1959.

Chromium also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, but more research is needed to determine the full range of its roles in the body.

Uses of Chromium

Chromium is called an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health.

Chromium is used for improving blood sugar control in people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar due to taking steroids.

It is also used for depression, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), lowering “bad” cholesterol, and raising “good” cholesterol in people taking heart medications called beta blockers.

Some people try chromium for body conditioning including weight loss, increasing muscle, and decreasing body fat. Chromium is also used to improve athletic performance and to increase energy.

Taking chromium picolinate by mouth for 2 to 3 months might produce a small weight loss of about 1.1 kg. But not all studies have found this benefit.

What foods provide chromium?

Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply, but most foods provide only small amounts (less than 2 micrograms [mcg] per serving). Meat and whole-grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables, and spices are relatively good sources. In contrast, foods high in simple sugars (like sucrose and fructose) are low in chromium.

Recommended Chromium Intakes


Age Infants and children
(mcg/day)
Males
(mcg/day)
Females
(mcg/day)
Pregnancy
(mcg/day)
Lactation
(mcg/day)
0 to 6 months 0.2        
7 to 12 months 5.5        
1 to 3 years 11        
4 to 8 years 15        
9 to 13 years   25 21    
14 to 18 years   35 24 29 44
19 to 50 years   35 25 30 45
>50 years   30 20    

Chromium: Issues and Controversies

Chromium has long been of interest for its possible connection to various health conditions. Among the most active areas of chromium research are its use in supplement form to treat diabetes, lower blood lipid levels, promote weight loss, and improve body composition.

Type 2 diabetes and glucose intolerance
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin but, for unknown reasons, the body cannot use the insulin effectively. The disease typically occurs, in part, because the cells comprising muscle and other tissues become resistant to insulin's action, especially among the obese. Insulin permits the entry of glucose into most cells, where this sugar is used for energy, stored in the liver and muscles (as glycogen), and converted to fat when present in excess. Insulin resistance leads to higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia).

Chromium deficiency impairs the body's ability to use glucose to meet its energy needs and raises insulin requirements. It has therefore been suggested that chromium supplements might help to control type 2 diabetes or the glucose and insulin responses in persons at high risk of developing the disease.

Overall, the value of chromium supplements for diabetics is inconclusive and controversial. Randomized controlled clinical trials in well-defined, at-risk populations where dietary intakes are known are necessary to determine the effects of chromium on markers of diabetes.

Lipid metabolism
The effects of chromium supplementation on blood lipid levels in humans are also inconclusive. In some studies, 150 to 1,000 mcg/day has decreased total and low-density-lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased concentrations of apolipoprotein A (a component of high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol known as HDL or "good" cholesterol) in subjects with atherosclerosis or elevated cholesterol or among those taking a beta-blocker drug. These findings are consistent with the results of earlier studies.
However, chromium supplements have shown no favorable effects on blood lipids in other studies.

Body weight and composition
Chromium supplements are sometimes claimed to reduce body fat and increase lean (muscle) mass. Yet a recent review of 24 studies that examined the effects of 200 to 1,000 mcg/day of chromium (in the form of chromium picolinate) on body mass or composition found no significant benefits. Another recent review of randomized, controlled clinical trials did find supplements of chromium picolinate to help with weight loss when compared to placebos, but the differences were small and of debatable clinical relevance. In several studies, chromium's effects on body weight and composition may be called into question because the researchers failed to adequately control for the participants' food intakes. Furthermore, most studies included only a small number of subjects and were of short duration.

Chromium Supplements

Chromium is a widely used supplement. Chromium is sold as a single-ingredient supplement as well as in combination formulas, particularly those marketed for weight loss and performance enhancement. Supplement doses typically range from 50 to 200 mcg.

The safety and efficacy of chromium supplements need more investigation. Please consult with a doctor or other trained healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements.

Chromium supplements are available as chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate, chromium picolinate, high-chromium yeast, and chromium citrate. Chromium chloride in particular appears to have poor bioavailability. However, given the limited data on chromium absorption in humans, it is not clear which forms are best to take.

Foods High in Chromium Content

Chromium content is in mcg per 100 g of food weight.



Chromium
Food Name

98.5
Bread, from white flour, toasted

87.7
Bread, from white flour, added omega-3 polyunsaturates, toasted

82.7
Bread, from white flour

75.4
Bread, from white flour, added omega-3 polyunsaturates

62.6
Beverage base, chocolate flavor, added minerals calcium & iron & vitamins A, B1, B2, C & D

37.4
Breakfast cereal, wheat bran, flakes, sultanas, added vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 & folate, Fe & Zn

28.7
Potato, red skin, peeled, boiled

25.0
Milkfish, aquacultured, steamed or poached

21.9
Bread, from wholemeal flour, toasted

21.2
Milkfish, aquacultured, raw

21.0
Breakfast cereal, mixed grain flakes (wheat, oats), added dried fruit, added vitamins B1, B2, B3 & folate

& Fe

19.4
Biscuit, savoury, cheese-flavored

18.8
Bread, from white flour, added calcium, toasted

18.6
Potato, sebago, unpeeled, boiled

18.6
Bread, from wholemeal flour

16.2
Bread, from white flour, added calcium

16.2
Hamburger, plain (beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, onion, sauce), takeaway shop

15.3
Potato, fries, deep fried, blended oil, take-away outlet, salted

15.3
Potato, fries, deep fried, monounsaturated oil, take-away outlet, salted

14.9
Biscuit, savoury, flavored

14.6
Hamburger, beef pattie, with cheese, lettuce, onion & sauce, takeaway style

14.4
Biscuit, savoury, from white flour, plain snack cracker style

14.0
Apple, royal gala, unpeeled, raw

14.0
Chicken, drumstick, lean, baked without oil

13.4
Ham steak, raw

13.4
Ham, leg, lean

13.4
Ham, leg, lean & fat

12.9
Breakfast cereal, whole wheat, flakes, added dried fruit & nuts, added vitamins B1, B2, B3 & folate, Ca,

Fe & fibre


Chromium
Food Name

12.8
Parsley, curly, raw

12.8
Parsley, continental, raw

12.6
Chocolate, milk, with added milk solids

12.2
Biscuit, sweet, plain

12.2
Pizza, ham & pineapple, purchased frozen, baked

12.0
Cake, chocolate, iced, commercial

11.9
Potato, coliban, peeled, boiled

10.8
Bassa (basa), steamed or poached

10.8
Potato, pale skin, peeled, boiled

10.6
Silver perch, aquacultured, steamed or poached

10.4
Tilapia, steamed or poached

9.3
Apple, red skin, unpeeled, raw

9.2
Bassa (basa), fillet, raw

9.0
Silver perch, aquacultured, raw

9.0
Oil, olive

8.8
Tilapia, fillet, raw

7.8
Chicken, breast, lean, grilled

7.6
Potato, chips, regular, deep fried, monounsaturated oil, from take-away outlet, salted

7.6
Potato, chips, regular, deep fried, blended oil, from take-away outlet, salted

7.5
Oil, canola

7.0
Trout, rainbow, aquacultured, steamed or poached

6.9
Dried fruit mix (raisin or sultana), milk chocolate-coated

6.7
Spread, yeast, vegemite

6.6
Breakfast cereal, puffed or popped rice, added vitamins B1, B2, B3, C & folate, Fe & Zn

6.6
Chicken, nugget, purchased frozen, baked without oil

6.5
Baked beans, canned in tomato sauce, salt reduced

6.5
Baked beans, canned in tomato sauce

6.5
Beverage, chocolate flavor, from base (Milo), with regular fat milk

6.3
Beef, mince, regular, dried fried (2006)

6.2
Cheese, cheddar, regular fat

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, wholemeal wheat flour, with sesame


Chromium
Food Name

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, from rye flour, crispbread

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, from white flour, Salada style

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, from white flour, water cracker style

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, wholemeal wheat flour

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, wholemeal wheat flour, crispbread

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, crispbread, puffed & toasted

6.0
Biscuit, savoury, wholemeal wheat flour, crispbread, puffed

5.9
Trout, rainbow, aquacultured, raw

5.7
Butter, salted

5.7
Butter, reduced salt (sodium < 350 mg /100 g)

5.7
Butter, no added salt

5.6
Sausage, beef, grilled

5.5
Sauce, tomato, commercial

5.5
Potato crisps or chips, plain, salted

5.4
Cheese, cheddar, processed, reduced fat (~8%), added vitamin D

5.4
Cheese, cheddar, processed, reduced fat (~16%), added vitamin D

5.3
Fish, crumbed, purchased frozen, baked

5.3
Almond, milk chocolate-coated

5.3
Fish, battered, purchased frozen, baked

5.2
Potato crisps or chips, flavored (other than salt & vinegar)

5.1
Hamburger, beef pattie, with cheese, onion, pickles & sauce, fast food style

5.0
Olive, green or black, drained

5.0
Olive, green, pimento, stuffed, drained

4.8
Barramundi, aquacultured fillets, steamed or poached

4.6
Pizza, supreme, thick base, fast food chain-style

4.5
Spinach, English, boiled, drained

4.4
Prawn, king (large size), flesh only, purchased cooked

4.4
Prawn, school, flesh only, purchased cooked

4.3
Bread roll, from white flour, toasted

4.2
Breakfast cereal, mixed grain (wheat, oat & corn), extruded shapes, added vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 & C,

Ca & Fe


Chromium
Food Name

4.1
Pizza, ham & pineapple, thin base, fast food chain-style

4.1
Pizza, ham & pineapple, takeaway style

4.1
Pizza, ham & pineapple, thick base, fast food chain-style

4.1
Pizza, supreme, takeaway style

4.1
Pizza, supreme, thin base, fast food chain style

4.1
Pizza, supreme, purchased frozen, baked

4.1
Barramundi, aquacultured, fillets, raw

3.9
Bread, from white flour, added iron, toasted

3.9
Pie, savoury, meat, commercial, individual size

3.8
Salt, table, non-iodised

3.8
Sausage roll, commercial, ready to eat, individual size

3.8
Spinach, English, raw

3.8
Salt, cooking

3.7
Bread roll, from white flour

3.6
Sausage, beef, fried

3.6
Cheese, creamed cottage

3.5
Chicken, breast, lean, stir fried without oil

3.3
Bread, from white flour, added iron

3.2
Potato crisp or chip, salt & vinegar flavored

3.1
Peach, canned in pear juice, drained

3.1
Peach, canned in pear juice

3.1
Peach, canned in pear juice, juice only

3.0
Breakfast cereal, beverage, all flavors, added vitamins A, B1, B2, C & folate

3.0
Sultana

2.7
Salmon, Atlantic, steamed or poached

2.5
Wine, red

2.5
Pie, savoury, meat, commercial, party size

2.5
Bread, mixed grain, toasted

2.5
Pie, savoury, meat, commercial, family size

2.3
Salmon, Atlantic, fillets, raw

2.2
Lettuce, cos, raw

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