The truth about added vitamins

 Vitamins and minerals are commonly added into foods like butter, bread, cereal and others. But fortified foods may not be as good for you as you think. Today there is a growing concern over vitamin and mineral supplements. Recently an investigation led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found that some dietary supplements don’t even contain the ingredients listed on their labels. Then there are the quality control issues, and contamination. It has been estimated that 85,000 dietary supplement products in America could contain contaminants.

Vitamins and minerals themselves are required to maintain the many body processes we need to stay healthy. They are also needed to help prevent illnesses caused by deficiencies. This may be why people believe that vitamin and mineral supplements are good for us. And that’s partially true. If we become deficient in a specific nutrient it can cause problems in the body, and even diseases like scurvy or rickets.  

An estimated 2 billion people across the globe do not have access to adequate nutrition or even supplements to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For people with the type of health problems caused by deficiency, synthetic versions of vitamins and minerals may be the only option. But for those who get most of the nutrients they need from a balanced diet, synthetic versions are simply a farce.

Fortified foods that include synthetic vitamin and mineral additions will clearly state what has been added on their label. You might see, “Fortified with Vitamin D,” or “Added Calcium” on a food but these labels are simply hiding a very scary reality. You see, the quality of the Standard American Diet is very poor and includes fast food, packaged foods and items with hydrogenated fats and other highly-processed ingredients that not only lack nutritional value but can even harm a healthy body. And when those foods contain synthetic vitamin or mineral supplements and are “fortified” they do not become better for you. They are simply hiding behind a healthy façade so that you remain blind to the fact that they do NOT contain natural sources of the essential nutrients you need to stay healthy.

For example, a breakfast cereal can be fortified with all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need in a healthy morning meal. But they are likely to also contain loads of sugar, artificial flavoring, and artificial colors that can wreak havoc on healthy body systems. A better option is always whole natural foods that still contain their essential fats, phytonutrients naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

The debate continues over fortified foods, but the most important thing to remember is that the words “added vitamins” is not always synonymous with health. Remember to read all of the ingredients in any food you eat before you decide if it’s good for you. And as a rule of thumb, any food with more than 15 ingredients isn’t a healthy item.


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Recommended reading:

A simple guide to eating a balanced diet

The Government’s bad diet advice. Turning the food pyramid upside down

How is sugar being sneaked into our diets?