Extra nutrients aren’t necessarily a good thing for young children, elderly or … – Tech Times

A new Environmental Working Group report advises parents and adults to assess nutrient intake as too much nutrients can actually pose potential health issues.

“We need enough of these nutrients for good health, but consuming too much can be harmful – especially to young children, the elderly and pregnant women. Because of flawed government policies and food producers who fortify foods with extra nutrients in the hope of boosting sales, many American children today are getting excessive amounts of certain nutrients,” states a release announcing the report.

The EWG has identified 141 cereals and snack bars there are over fortified and is warning consumers about  what it terms as “misleading” marketing and outdated nutrition labeling.

“Heavily fortified foods may sound like a good thing, but it when it comes to children and pregnant women, excessive exposure to high nutrient levels could actually cause short or long-term health problems,” said Renee Sharp, EWG’s research director and co-author of the report.  “Manufacturers use vitamin and mineral fortification to sell their products, adding amounts in excess of what people need and more than might be prudent for young children to consume.”

The report, which can be downloaded here, focused on two food categories, breakfast cereals and snack bars and analyzed more than1550 cereals and 1000 snack bars.

Research reveals 114 cereals are fortified with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value for vitamin A, zinc and/or niacin.

Among the 1,000 snack bars researchers found 27 common were fortified with 50 percent or more of the adult Daily Value of at least one of these nutrients.

Too much vitamin A can lead to organ damage, specifically with the liver, as well as hair loss and skeletal abnormalities. Too much zinc can impact red and white blood cells and hinder immune systems. With the elderly too much vitamin A can increase risk of osteoporosis and be a cause in hip fractures.

The research team says one big issue is that the federal nutrition labeling system is outdated and was calculated for adults and not children when it was designed in 1968.

“In other words, when a parent picks up a box of cereal and sees that one serving provides 50 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A, he or she may think that it provides 50 percent of a child’s recommended intake,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D, an EWG research consultant and co-author of the report. “But he or she would most likely be wrong, since the Daily Values are based on an adult’s dietary needs.”

While the EWG supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) current efforts on gathering comments on proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts labels, it wants the FDA to require that the nutrition labels on products marketed to children display percent Daily Values specific to each age group, such as 1-to-3-year-olds and 4-to-8-year- olds.

The  EWG recommends parents give children no more than 20-to-25 percent of the adult Daily Value for vitamin A, zinc and niacin in a single serving.

 

Extra nutrients aren’t necessarily a good thing for young children, elderly or … – Tech Times

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