Fortified foods vs. supplements: What is better?
Having fruits and vegetables two times a day is essential to stay fit and healthy. Even then a large chunk of the population worldwide do not consume sufficient amount of nutrients and fail to meet the recommended dietary guidelines. Roughly, 2.5 billion people in the world have micronutrient deficiencies. And to balance out the same, fortified foods were introduced in the 1930s and 40s.
Food fortification, also referred to as food enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients to food that are not found in them naturally. This increases the amount of vitamin and nutrient intake and helps to reduce the risk of different health issues. Addition of Iodine to salt and Vitamin D to milk are some of the fine examples of food fortification However, now there are multiple supplements available in the market, which are considered even better for fulfilling the deficiencies of common nutrients. But the question is what is better for health- Fortified food or supplements?
What should you opt for?
Fortified foods have been highly successful from the time it came into existence. After it was introduced in the 30s, common health issues caused due to nutrient deficiency like rickets and pellagra were estimated to be virtually eliminated.
If you have to choose one out of the two, then fortified foods are better than supplements. Eating fortified foods will provide you with other nutrients, which might not be present in the supplements. Like when you eat food fortified with vitamin D, you may also get calcium with it. The problem with supplements is that it only contains a single nutrient.
Also read: Eat regionally & seasonally food
In a broad spectrum, both fortified foods and supplements provide our body with nutrients that we need. But food is much better than supplements as some nutrients are absorbed better when they are combined. Moreover, food keeps you full and you do not binge eat on unhealthy things.
Things to be careful about
Fortified foods are good for both kids as well as adults. However, some fortified foods are highly processed and may contain a high amount of sodium and fat. You need to be careful before picking any products from the supermarket aisle. Every fortified food is not necessarily healthy. Also, too much of nutrients may lead to its overdose, which is not a good thing. So you need to be careful while consuming any of these.