The healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss industry is valued at $648 billion, according to the Global Wellness Institute, so it's no surprise that nutritionists and health experts keep dishing out new diets to try and new guidelines to follow. One of the latest diet fads to hit the global market is the keto diet. But aside from full-fledged diets, nutritionists are also warning against new diets and new food groups to avoid for optimal wellness. Take phytic acid for example. What exactly is it and why are some nutritionists or health experts warning against it? Why is it called the "anti-nutrient?" What foods actually have it and how bad is it really for our health?

A definition

So what really is phytic acid? According to Precision Nutrition, it is "the storage form of phosphorus." But what exactly does the "anti-nutrient" do? It binds to minerals in the digestive system, making people believe that it "steals" these minerals from the body.

But what type of minerals does it bind to? According to Men's Health, it binds to minerals such as zinc, iron, and magnesium, which are all essential for optimal health.

Food groups

Phytic acid is commonly found in legumes, nuts, beans, and grains and these food groups have high levels of it. But does it mean that it's bad for you? Not necessarily. The only reason why phytic acid is being touted as an "anti-nutrient" is because of its binding effect with these minerals. It binds itself to a mineral, becoming a phytate. But there may be some good reason as to why there is some growing concern. According to Men's Health, there were some studies that found a connection between cultures with high phytic acid diets and high levels of iron and zinc deficiencies. However, it's not enough to support the idea that it is bad for you.

An antioxidant

Just like other nutrients in foods that we eat, phytic acid is actually an antioxidant that may help the body fight against free radicals that cause cancer and other diseases. It's also good for fighting those minerals and other chemicals that are bad for the body, like those found in cigarettes.

Like in everything else, moderation is key. But nutritionist and biochemist Trevor Kashey told Men's Health that cooking food properly decreases the phytic acid in beans, legumes, and the like. If you're not sure about how the "anti-nutrient" affects your diet, consult your doctor or nutritionist and do your own research as well.