7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports warns some fortified foods may be unnecessary

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Plenty of foods are packed with added nutrients, like iron and calcium, with idea being that more is better, but that may not be true. 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney partnered up with Consumer Reports with a warning. (KGO-TV )

Plenty of foods are packed with added nutrients, like iron and calcium. Some may think that means those are better for you, but that may not be true. 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney partnered up with Consumer Reports with a warning.

Supermarket aisles are filled with fortified foods including cereal, orange juice, pasta, bread, protein drinks, and snack bars.

"If you have too much of some of the nutrients that are in fortified foods and in dietary supplements, it can be harmful," said Lauren Cooper, Consumer Reports business editor.

Take calcium, the daily recommended amount for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams. If you start your morning with a bowl of total whole grain cereal, each serving is fortified with 100 percent of your daily calcium needs and that's without milk. Add the milk and pop a daily calcium supplement, and that's double the the amount of calcium a person's body needs.

"Too much supplemental calcium can increase your risk for kidney stones," Cooper said.

A bowl of Kellogg's Product 19 has 18 milligrams, and plenty of other foods are fortified with iron, so you could be getting more than you think.

"Too much increases the risk of diabetes and heart problems and can cause other serious health issues," Cooper added.

Keep an eye on folic acid, a synthetic form of folate. Most healthy adults who aren't pregnant need just 400 micrograms of folic acid or folate per day.

"Overdoing, it can hide the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency in people over 50," she added.

The good news is that most American adults already get enough of these nutrients without eating fortified foods or taking dietary supplements. Look to dark leafy greens for calcium, iron and folate. And of course, milk, cheese, and yogurt for calcium. And red meat as a good source of iron.

Consumer Reports says you don't need to avoid fortified foods altogether, but it's a good idea to check labels. Unless your doctor recommends a dietary supplement, Consumer Reports says it's best to skip them.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
Related Topics:
food7 On Your Sideconsumer reportsconsumer concernsconsumernutrition
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