Disease Proof

Fortified Food Farce

Which would you prefer, a kick in the head or a punch in the nose? Yes, this is a very dumb question, but, it’s not all that different from this one posed by The New York Times. Reporter C. Claiborne Ray wants to know if eating fortified food is better than taking vitamins. Take a look:
“In some circumstances a pill might be preferable to an enriched food to make sure a person is getting enough of a specific nutrient,” Dr. Sheldon S. Hendler, co-editor of The Physicians’ Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements said, “for example, for those on restricted diets, including calorie-restricted diets, for those with food allergies and sensitivities (like lactose intolerance) and for the elderly, who may not be able to eat enough of a particular food.” But eating a fortified food rather than taking a pill gives the added advantage of the food’s overall nutritional value, including valuable plant nutrients called phytonutrients, some of which may not even have been identified yet, as well as calories, fiber and water.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t buy the hype of fortified foods. If you’re eating plenty of wholesome nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, seeds, and legumes—you don’t need the fortified food! So, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about Ray’s question:
Of course this article misses the whole point emphasized in modern nutritional research. That is when you attempt to meet you micronutrient requirements with supplements or fortified products you miss those thousands of phytonutrients that accompany produce that is naturally nutrient rich. So every fortified food you eat is increasing your risk of cancer by decreasing your dietary intake of a food that could have supplied those calories in a more nutrient complete package. Fortified foods = processed foods. Processed foods = obesity and cancer epidemic.
Plants are loaded with tons of health-promoting compounds. Take fruit for example, very strong medicine. From Eat to Live:
Researchers have discovered substances in fruit that have unique effects on preventing aging and deterioration of the brain.1 Some fruits, especially blueberries, are rich in anthocyanins and other compounds having anti-aging effects.2 Studies continue to provide evidence that more than any other food, fruit consumption is associated with lowered mortality from all cancers combined.2 Eating fruit is viable to your health, well-being, and long life.
1. Joseph, J.A., B. Shukitt-Hale, N.A. Denisova, et al. 1999. Reversal of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavior deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. J. Neurosci. 19 (18): 8114-21.

2. Cao, G., B. Shukitt-Hale, P.C. Bickford, et al. 1999. Hyperoxia-induced changes in antioxidant capacity and the effect of dietary antioxidant. J. Appl. Physiol. 86 (6): 1817-22.

3. Hertog, M.G., H.B. Bueno-de-Mesquita, and A.M. Fehily. 1996. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer mortality in Caerphilly Study. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. (9): 673-77.
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