NY Times on "Fortified Foods"
In the business section of today's New York Times, Melanie Warner writes about a new trend in the food industry: adding health supplements to foods. They call them fortified foods. Examples include yogurt with active cultures, orange juice with added fiber, soft drinks with vitamins, etc.
Here's the only part of the article where genuine nutrition was really assessed:
Alice H. Lichtenstein, a senior scientist at the nutrition research center at Tufts University, says she believes that people who may be in need of additional nutrients, cholesterol-lowering plant sterols or extra fiber should get them through a multivitamin or pill-based supplement.
"The danger with this is that people will add food to their diet, rather than substitute, and then they'll end up consuming more calories, which would not be good," Dr. Lichtenstein said.
Food companies say many people do not like to take pills and find it easier to get nutrients or supplements in a food or a beverage that they may be consuming anyway.
I'm not an expert or a doctor, but it seems a little irresponsible to me to not even mention the idea of getting the majority of your nutrition from food that's actually proven to be healthy, like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, etc.
The article also includes this staggeringly terrible news:
How big is the functional foods market? According to some reports, it could be huge. A study by Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that 48.4 percent of all Americans in 2002 suffered from at least one chronic health condition, from hypertension to asthma to heart disease, up from 44.7 percent in 1996.
What caused all that chronic disease? The same companies that go to great lengths making fat, sugar, salt, and other things so fun and prevelant--even in our schools--are now going to capitalize on our health problems and fears to sell us more of the same with a couple of fancy additives thrown in? Something about that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.