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What's Being Added to Your Food?
Q: What's your first reaction when you hear that you'll soon be able to buy orange juice spiked with anchovies?
How about broccoli and kale hiding in a bar of chocolate or a super-cheese that has the power to kill off unwanted intestinal parasites?
If you're anything like me, you are probably wrinkling your nose and thinking "yuck!"
Or maybe you're shaking your head at the brave new world of Frankenfoods. Either way, the next wave of "functional foods" doesn't make a great first impression on most of us.
But that hasn't stopped food giants like Dannon, Kraft and General Mills from messing around in their giant labs and grafting "superfood benefits" onto regular everyday foods.
The latest trend is to add omega-3 fatty acids (from anchovies), antioxidants and anti-inflammatories (from broccoli, beets and other fruits and vegetables) and other health supplements to orange juice, cereal, peanut butter, salsa and other modern-day staples.
According to an article in the New York Times, this new crop of additives—microencapsulated nutrients isolated from fish, berries, tomatoes and such—are the next evolution of modified foods. Like fortified milk, the claim is that they'll add health benefits without changing the taste of, say, orange juice.
Now, I'm wary of these "new and improved foods," but I'll play devil's advocate for a minute: What if it is better to sneak important nutrients into everyday foods?
After all, I don't eat fish three times a week, and I never eat anchovies on their own. In fact, if I encounter an anchovy, it's only because someone else ordered it on a pizza and I immediately peel it off my slice.
To get my recommended daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, I take a couple flax seed oil capsules each morning, often with a glass of juice. So, how much difference is there, really, if those supplements are already laced into my orange juice?
I'm not sure. But it does make me wonder if I've been creating my own version of Frankenfoods for a long time anyway.