Too much of a good thing
I attended a meeting with FAO and sometime during the discussion the subject of over fortification of food products came up. I did not know that there was such a thing as over-fortification or in other words, too much of a good thing. Everything that we buy is fortified with something or the other and personally I do check the labels to check whether the milk or the cooking oil is fortified with healthy stuff. Now who would have thought that having too much of these elements – iron, vitamins, minerals – do not actually benefit the body as they tend to just pass through but they DO make our livers and kidneys work harder to eliminate the extras. Frankly, I didn’t know that.
I have my mother urge me every year to take my son to one of those yearly camps where the government or the NGO‘s organize for that extra dose of Vitamin A or something or the other. I had even done it a couple of times and then gave up because it was just too much hassle or my son seemed in good enough health to not need that little extra. But apparently that’s not only unnecessary but can be downright harmful if overdone (mom’s take note).
Every day we are bombarded with advertisement of food stuff that is fortified with iron, calcium, etc. and the targeted audience is usually parents and children and recently pregnant women and men in their primes. But this discussion really made me stop and think – if we eat a healthy balanced diet – do we really need all these extra fortifications? I am guilty of buying eggs that apparently have extra Omega-3 in them! Time to take another look at my pantry and the ingredients listed on all those items that I have stocked up in.
Perhaps once again, it is time to overhaul the way we think about food and nutrition again.