by Kellie Turpin

Undernourished means lacking the food needed for health and growth. Is there such thing as “over-nourished”?
Not exactly a term that you hear too often. Perhaps it will become a well-known term in the future. To me, over-nourished means too much of a good thing.


Next time you are in the grocery store, take notice of the abundance of foods fortified with extra vitamins, minerals, fiber, probiotics, herbs and supplements. Some popular nutritional additives you might notice include calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, C, E and A, potassium, omega 3, probiotic bacteria, and fiber. These types of additives turn food products into “functional foods” or “nutraceuticals.” Americans are eating this up so to speak.

These food products often fool people into thinking that certain foods are healthy. Food companies are adding nutrients to their foods in order to market them as nutritious choices. Sugar-laden cereals are pumped up with extra vitamins, candy bars are being disguised as healthy granola bars, gummy candies have become vitamin pills, and sweetened beverages contain a plethora of vitamins. It has become more difficult to find plain bottled water, plain yogurt, and 100 percent fruit juice for example without nutrition additives.

There is definitely an economical cost to these products. Buying functional foods does come at a price and it can be an expensive way to get your vitamins. There is certainly a better alternative. For example, rather than spending extra money on the pumped up version of cereal, why not buy the regular whole grain cereal with only a few ingredients and take a daily multi-vitamin instead? Why buy a $2 bottle of water enhanced with only a few expensive vitamins? You can save money by drinking free, plain tap water.

If you are concerned about getting in your recommended requirements, simply take an inexpensive multi-vitamin with no more than 100 percent RDA of vitamins and minerals to cover your nutritional bases.

Besides the economical cost, there could also be a cost to your health. We have learned from other studies that over-consuming anti-oxidant vitamins in the pill form can be detrimental to our health. Could we discover one day that overly fortified foods do more damage than good? Were we meant to get our vitamins and minerals mixed in with sugar, fat and preservatives? 

Sure, many Americans do not get the recommended amount of daily fiber, but getting a concentrated amount of fiber in a powder, bar or liquid form may not be the ideal way.  Rather than promoting these enhanced products, why not promote more natural whole foods?

I doubt that we could ever go wrong eating more natural whole foods in place of pre-packaged, preservative laden, over-fortified processed foods.