Interest in the health effects of dietary phosphorus is burgeoning, yet sources and trends in phosphorus consumption have not been well characterized. We describe trends in and primary sources of dietary phosphorus in a nationally representative sample of 34,741 US adults, 20+ years old (NHANES 2001–2014). Dietary sources of phosphorus were estimated in nine food groups and 26 food categories. Phosphorus consumption was expressed in absolute intake, phosphorus density, and proportion contributed by dietary sources. Between 2001 and 2014, dietary phosphorus intake increased from 1345 to 1399 mg/day (p
-trend = 0.02), while calorie intake slightly declined (p
-trend = 0.1). Grains were the largest dietary phosphorus source, followed by meats, and milk products. Soft drinks accounted for just 3.3% of total dietary phosphorus. Phosphorus intake from grains increased 68 mg/day (p
< 0.001), 25 mg/day from meats (p = 0.02), and decreased 75 mg/day (p
< 0.001) from milk products. Dietary phosphorus intake and the phosphorus density of the diet are increasing. Grains are an important dietary phosphorus source that has increased in total consumption and phosphorus density. Further research is needed to determine if this is due to individuals’ selection of grains or the composition of those available.
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