Foods pumped up with extra nutrients could be too much of a good thing

Posted at 5:37 PM, Nov 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-21 17:37:27-05

In the supermarket, you see lots of foods that promise a 'vitamin boost,' 'triple the calcium,' or 'protein plus.' But Consumer Reports` Jamie Kopf says foods pumped up with extra nutrients could be too much of a good thing.

“We came up with a hypothetical list of all the fortified foods that a person might eat in a single day. And then we calculated how much you`d get of certain nutrients if you did that,” says Kopf.

Say for breakfast you have two cups of coffee, cereal, orange juice, plus a multivitamin and a couple of calcium chews.

A little later on a nutrition bar. For lunch a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lemonade. Then mid-afternoon a protein shake.

A while later, an extra-strength energy drink. Finally, mac and cheese for dinner.

Here`s what that adds up to: For calcium, almost four times what`s recommended.

“That`s too much of a good thing. If you consume excess calcium over time you could end up with problems like constipation, kidney stones, and possibly impaired absorption of iron and zinc,” says Kopf.

Next, caffeine: The total is around 470 milligrams, more than the recommended daily limit of 400 milligrams.

“Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, a rapid or abnormal heart rate, and increased blood pressure,” says Kopf.

And the sample diet has five times the recommended amount of folate, which can mask a b12 deficiency.

“The bottom line is that you really need to read labels on fortified foods to make sure that you`re not getting too much. Just because some of a vitamin or mineral is good doesn`t necessarily mean that more is better,” says Kopf.

The bottom line is read labels to make sure you're not getting too much.