Is fortification actually good
Even though fortification has increased vitamin and mineral consumption in the United States, there haven’t been studies on nutrients other than folic acid that show that fortified foods are improving our health. There are also concerns that fortified and enriched foods may be causing people to get harmful amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.
Fortified and enriched foods can be a part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. But whether or not they’re beneficial depends on age and a few other factors.
Unfortunately, many fortified or enriched foods are heavily processed and packaged. They often come with high sodium, fat, and sugar content. Fortification doesn’t make them inherently healthy or good for you.
Many younger children are also at risk of overdosing on some added vitamins, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The report showed that many fortified foods currently available contain levels of vitamins that aren’t appropriate for children. Many children may also exceed daily recommended values by eating a variety of fortified foods throughout the day, or by eating more than one serving. Nearly half of children ages 2 to 8 get too much zinc, and 13 percent consume too much vitamin A. These overdoses are potentially dangerous.
Fortified and enriched foods, especially foods not formulated for children, may not be safe for all children.
People with special diets also need to be aware of potential vitamin deficiencies. Vegans, for example, can benefit from foods fortified with vitamin B-12.
However, adults can overconsume certain vitamins with enriched or fortified foods, especially if they are also taking supplements.
Pregnant women and older adults can get too much vitamin A. It can cause birth defects, and high levels of vitamin A have been linked to hip fractures in older adults. While many women still have low folate intake, foods fortified with folic acid can cause people to get too much,.
In some cases, fortified or enriched foods are helpful. They can fill in the gaps and increase a particular vitamin and mineral consumption that would otherwise be less than the recommended value.
But it’s also easy to get too much. These foods can contribute to nutrient overdoses. Be aware of how much of each nutrient you are eating. Don’t forget to include foods that don’t come with a nutrition label, like dark leafy greens. Keep an eye on serving sizes to make sure you're not overdosing on added vitamins or minerals.
. Avoid foods that contain added sugars, have trans fats, or are high in sodium.
While fortified and enriched foods can certainly add to a healthy diet, they aren’t enough by themselves. You still need to eat a well-rounded, varied diet that is loaded with vegetables and other whole foods. You cannot rely on fortification or enrichment to get all of the nutrients you need. more