Monday, January 25, 2010

Added value?

While reading the Saturday paper this week, I made myself a little collection of coupons for more of the fortified food products that seem to be becoming the norm at the supermarket.

Now you can get Omega-3s and Vitamin E in your milk
Smart Balance

Probiotics in your sugar substitute

And if you don’t like drinking healthy pomegranate juice for the antioxidants it contains, you can now get it in pill form*

I’m not necessarily knocking any of these products. I just find it fascinating that so few packaged foods are unadulterated these days. The idea seems to be that by adding supplements to everything, or by turning naturally healthy foods into supplement pills value is added. You get more for your money if you’re not only sweetening your drink but boosting your immune system at the same time. It’s not enough just to drink a glass of milk, it needs to contain a dose of vitamins as well.

In our society where no one has time to eat right or exercise enough, it seems to make sense that food manufacturers are trying to help us out by giving us extra nutrition in everything we buy, but I tend to think this only helps us avoid the need to slow down and pay more attention to what we eat and how we eat it. Are we really healthier if we get the daily recommended dose of every vitamin and nutrient from just one glass of a super-fortified drink, whether it be juice, milk, water or even soda [7-Up even comes fortified with anti-oxidants these days]? Or do we just think we’re healthier because we’ve gotten some extra nutrients and saved time in the process?

* Interesting about the pomegranate pill, it also comes in concentrated liquid if you don't like the juice you can take a pill and if you don't like the pill you can have a spoonful of...more juice.


  1. It's a vicious cycle -- the more processed foods we eat, the more fortifications we need, but the easiest way to get everything we need is to eat more processed foods.

  2. Exactly. So where does it all end? At some point, we'll just be drinking artificially sweetened vitamin drinks all day.