Fortified and Enriched Foods: Essence and Potentials
Fortified foods are those that have nutrients added to them that don’t naturally occur in the food.
These foods are meant to improve nutrition and add health benefits.
For example, milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and calcium may be added to fruit juices
An enriched food means that nutrients that were lost during processing are added back in.
Many refined grains are enriched. Wheat flour, for example, may have folic acid, riboflavin, and iron added back in after processing.
This is intended to restore its original vitamin levels
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.
No matter what, you can’t cover poor nutrition by adding extra vitamins. Desserts made with enriched flours and fortified breakfast cereals coated in sugar aren’t healthy options. The typical diet is already full of nutrient-poor processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains. 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.