October 21, 2008

Food For Thought -- Literally!

Kellogg's has just launched Live Bright -- a "brain health bar."

What leads them to make this claim? The inclusion -- through fortification, of course -- of 100 milligrams of DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA, the same Omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.)

This is a perfect example of nutrient isolation gone awry.

Does DHA play a role in cognitive health? It very much appears that way.

Then again, so do vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, zinc, iron, and a variety of polyphenols and antioxidants.

In other words -- orange juice companies and blueberry farmers could, I suppose, also make brain health claims.

As could the most sugary of cereals, for that matter, as long as it is fortified with the above mentioned nutrients.

These types of health claims end up having very little meaning because they make up only portion of the total puzzle.

While DHA can help with cognitive health, so does maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure at desired levels, and limiting saturated fat intake (neuroscience research studies have shown a link between high saturated fat intake and a decline in cognitive function over time.)

Including one of these bars in a diet generally low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains -- and high in saturated fat and sodium -- isn't going to be much help.

If you're going to reach for a DHA fortified food, I would rather you pick up DHA fortified eggs, which contain a superior nutritional profile to what is, essentially, a candy bar.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Hi Andy,
What is the process exactly in adding Omega-3 to eggs? How is this done? I know the eggs are "fortified" but what does this mean?
Thank you.