When you are looking through the grocery store or looking inside your pantry, chances are that you have seen a food product that was labeled as fortified. But, do you know what fortified means for food?
Let’s talk about fortified foods, their history, and how they affect our health.
What are Fortified Foods?
Fortified foods are foods that have micronutrients added to them to increase their nutritional value. This is done to address severe micronutrient deficiencies that are in danger of becoming a widespread nutrition crisis.
History of Food Fortification
Food fortification started in 1921 when iodine began to be added to table salt. The iodine was added to reduce the occurrence of goiter, a medical condition that causes the enlargement of the thyroid gland. At the time, goiter was a prevalent medical condition and could cause significant neurocognitive development issues.
This was incredibly successful and by 1924, you could find ionized salt in just about every store. The success of ionized salt encouraged researchers to study if fortifying food would be able to help reduce cases of rickets. Rickets is a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency that affects children and can cause significant pain along with weak and soft bones that often deform and cause bowing of the legs.
Vitamin D was added to milk since it is a drink most children would regularly have and also due to its calcium content. Vitamin D and calcium have a synergistic effect since vitamin D helps the bones absorb more calcium, thus making them much stronger. You can easily find vitamin D fortified milk in just about every grocery store even though the FDA does not require milk to be fortified.
In the 1940s, vitamin B was added to bread due to a condition known as pellagra. Pellagra is a disease that is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B-3, often called niacin. This was a serious disease that would result in diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, and if left untreated in severe cases, would cause death.
Bakers began to add yeasts that were formulated to be high in vitamins as well as synthetically manufactured B vitamins in early 1940. By 1942, the vast majority of the bread that could be found in the U.S. market was enriched with vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and iron, which was extremely successful in curbing B vitamin related diseases.
As you can see, fortified foods have played a huge role in eradicating diseases that were once considered to be common.
Types of Food Fortification
There are three types of food fortification that are used to add micronutrients to our food. There is a good chance that you have fortified food with your own hands.
Commercial Fortification involves adding small amounts of micronutrients to the food during processing to increase its nutrient content. An example of a food that is commercially fortified is ionized table salt.
Biofortification is the process of selectively breeding different food crops so that they contain more nutrients. Techniques such as selective breeding, genetic modification, and seed priming are used to create a crop that can address the nutritional deficiencies in a community. Golden rice is a type of genetically engineered rice that has beta carotene that will help those with vitamin A deficiencies.
Home fortification involves adding nutrients to your food or drinks to make them more nutritionally complete. If you have ever added protein or vitamin drops to your drink, you have done it yourself.
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What Are the Disadvantages of Fortified Foods?
Fortified foods have been essential in improving the health of large populations, but you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks. Here are the disadvantages that fortified foods may have.
Overconsumption of Vitamins
Although it is rare, it is possible to overconsume vitamins. If you are taking excessive amounts of vitamin supplements while consuming fortified foods with the same vitamins, it is possible to cause some significant side effects. If you are in doubt, make sure you consult with a doctor or dietician about your supplements to make sure that you do not have to avoid certain fortified foods.
Can Be Misleading
It is common for manufacturers of unhealthy foods to add vitamins and market them as healthy fortified foods. While it may be true that extra vitamins or other nutrients have been added, it still comes with the unhealthy nutrition that is commonplace with junk food. Make sure to check the nutritional information on the packages of food to make sure that you are making the right choice.
Thrive Ice Cream
If you are looking for fortified food that is fortified with 24 vitamins and nutrients, with 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and probiotics, you will want to check out Thrive Ice Cream. Thrive Ice Cream comes in four incredible flavors, which are Simply Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, No Sugar Added Creamy Vanilla, and Fresh Strawberry.
Do you prefer gelato over ice cream? Check out our Thrive Gelato here.
Fortified food has successfully improved public health and will continue to do so as technology advances and our understanding of the human body and nutrition grows. Thrive Ice Cream not only tastes amazing, but it continues the tradition of improving health through fortifying food. If you want to try one of the best-tasting fortified foods that is packed with nutrients, please check us out.