Fortified Snack Foods Can Be Tricky
You may be unduly swayed to buy packaged snacks when they carry claims about added vitamins, suggests a new study. A total of 5,076 randomly-selected US adults assessed snack food packages online. When a snack had a claim that it was a good source of a vitamin, the people were significantly less likely to check the Nutrition Facts label and were more likely to choose the snack than when the same product lacked the claim. They also were more likely to think a snack with a vitamin claim was healthier than a similar one that wasn’t fortified. The claim lost its influence on product selection, however, when people took time to check the Nutrition Facts label.
"It’s always wise to look at the Nutrition Facts label to compare between one product and another," says Linda Verrill, PhD, at the FDA and lead author of the study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Consumers shouldn’t assume a vitamin-fortified product is more nutritious than a product that hasn’t been fortified." Adding a vitamin to a food can't make up for it being high in sugar and calories or low in fiber. And, you may not need more of the added vitamin anyway.