Choose Nutrient Rich Foods, Especially Enriched/Fortified Ones!
Around the world, lifespan is increasing and creating new challenges. Reductions in childhood mortality was a major driver of this change. More recently, people are living longer because of medical advances in late life. Unfortunately for many, quality of life diminishes with age because of chronic disease – diabetes, cardiovascular, and osteoporosis. Many of these diseases are strongly correlated with obesity and overweight so there is a tremendous educational effort to have people consume fewer calories and to vilify certain types of macronutrients.
Having a healthy body weight is important but our diet must contain essential vitamins and minerals. It is a tough balancing act to decrease food intake yet ensure that one still consumes essential nutrients. This can only be achieved by eating “nutrient dense foods”. In developed, affluent countries, >75% of the adult population do not achieve recommended vitamin intakes. The existence of a sizable nutrient gap makes it difficult to determine what proportion of non-communicable disease is attributable to being overweight versus having suboptimal vitamin and mineral status.
As stated in a DSM Nutritional Products press release, “a shift towards nutrient dense diets could have a significant effect on the risk of developing NCDs and help to maintain not only life expectancy, but also a higher quality of life.”
We get most of our nutrients from enriched/fortified foods and dietary supplements. Don’t avoid fortified foods, they are lifesavers!
Troesch B, Biesalski HK, Bos R, Buskens E, Calder PC, Saris WHM, Spieldenner J, Verkade HJ, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M. Increased intake of foods with high nutrient density can help to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition and obesity. 2015 Nutr doi: 10.3390/nu7075266
Kirkwood TBL. A systematic look at an old problem. 2008 Nature doi: 10.1038/451644a
Troesch B, Hoeft B, McBurney M, Eggersdorfer M, Weber P. Dietary surveys indicate vitamin intakes below recommendations are common in representative Western countries. 2012 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001808
Fulgoni VL, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients? 2011 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142257