Wow, Magic Foods!

Aren’t we lucky? We live in a time where vitamins can be found water. Wondrous yogurt cultures set our digestive tracts straight. And cooking oils are infused with health-promoting substances. Just how did people survive before all this? Who cares! That was then and this is now.

Okay, I know. The sarcasm was a little over the top, but given the number of magic foods on supermarket shelves and how many millions of people buy them everyday, clearly someone has to think they’re a good idea, right? But are these products really worth it? E.J. Mundell of HealthDay News investigates the merits of “functional foods.” Take Danone's "Activia" for example:
Other functional foods are populating the dairy aisle. Danone recently introduced its Activia line of flavored yogurts enhanced with their own specially developed strain of "friendly" gut bacteria, Bifidus Regularis. The bacteria's name announces the purpose of the Activia line: To encourage frequent, on-time bowel movements…


…"In fact, many yogurts will have 'contains L.acidophilus' or something like that on the label, because they know there's a niche market of consumers looking for that," said Sanders, past president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, who is based in Centennial, Colo…

…"Remember, if people just ate more fiber in their diets, more fruits and vegetables, they'd probably have bowel movements more frequently, anyway," Mary Ellen Sanders one of the nation's leading experts on bacteria-enhanced "probiotic" foods pointed out.
You’ve got to love that quote! Even though it doesn’t say it, it pretty much implies that it’s easier to convince people to consume engineered/heavily marketed “super foods” than it is to get them to eat regular-old fruits and veggies. “Waaa! But I don’t like broccoli Mommy!” That’s what it sounds like to me.

Dr. Fuhrman knows all about this kind of thinking. Some people are very standoffish when it comes to natural food and they’d rather eat all these manufactured foods and hope that their million dollar claims hold up, than to abandon their food addictions and start eating to live. From, Eat to Live:
The social and economic forces that are pulling our population toward obesity and disease will not be defeated by one book preaching about achieving superior health with nutritional excellence. The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. The Eat to Live plan is not for everyone. I do not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits. They have that inalienable right to live their lives the way they choose.
Now I realize that I crow-barred that quote in there, but even still, I think it crystallizes the issue here. Instead of teaching people to change their ways and give up emotional attachments to food. We spend tremendous amounts of time—and money—trying bend proper nutrition to our will, in the hope that we won't have to give up all the junk we’re accustomed to eating. Does anyone else think this is bizarre? Not to mention a giant waste of time…and money.
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lorraine sherman - May 18, 2008 7:26 AM

i would like to know if adding chocolate or other flavors to milk alters the calcium and other nutrients. how about cooking? does that change the benefits of milk and other calcium rich foods?

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