There is a misconception going around that fortified and enriched foods are healthy, but I am sorry to tell you that, that just is not the case! The glut of food products, mainly breakfast cereals and bars, are being pumped with vitamins and minerals. Have you ever heard of something called too much of a good thing?
Enriched is the word of the hour and we can find that word in thousands of products that grace the grocery store shelves. Since 1998 folic acid has been added to most bread flours, cornmeal, pasta, and rice as well as other grain products in the United States and Canada.
However, it is an unfortunate fact that these foods get “enriched” with synthetic vitamins and/or minerals that our bodies usually cannot use properly. These synthetic nutrients can cause major health problems!
According to the Organic Consumers Association,
Toxicity Side Effects of Excess Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A: abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, lethargy, eczema, patchy hair loss, edema, anemia, respiratory tract infection, chronic liver disease
Vitamin E: allergic reaction, breathing impairments, swelling of the tongue, fatigue, headache, nausea, blurred vision, excessive bleeding (anticoagulation due to inhibition of vitamin K), increased oxidative stress, increased hypertension, decreased life span
Vitamin K: supplementation with a synthetic form of vitamin K Menadione has been associated with liver damage. Some reports indicate a significant association between high intramuscular levels of vitamin K and cancer.
Vitamin D: even though vitamin D poisoning is rare, toxicity can occur under certain medical conditions such as primary hyperparathyroidism, tuberculosis, and lymphoma. Note that vitamin D is completely safe when produced by the body itself through UV sunlight exposure.
Foods like dairy products, orange juice, cereals, and juices have added vitamins and minerals added to increase their nutritional value. Many food manufacturers will throw a label on food that says, “fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.”
In the Natural health world, this is just code for the fact that they are covering up the high amount of high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar in that box or carton. This happens a lot with things like cereals. As of recent, many manufacturers have switched to “whole grains”, but don’t be fooled! Just because they are using whole grains, does not make it a healthy option. The sugar content alone should be enough to make you run for the hills. Do yourself a favor and skip the fortified foods!
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing! It is wise to concentrate on getting as much of your calcium, folic acid and iron from whole food sources rather than fortified products. Make sure to check the nutrition label on packaged foods, always go for the organic option, or just go to natural stuff like fruits, grains, legumes, and vegetables.