“Enriched” and “Fortified” are both terms that refer to vitamins and minerals that have been added to a food product to add more nutrients. Enriched means that the nutrients were added back to the food product after being lost during the processing procedure. On the other hand, fortified means nutrients are added to a food that weren’t there to begin with. For example, milk is fortified with Vitamin D to help our bodies absorb milk’s calcium and phosphorus. Orange juice is also usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D. The FDA also passed a law in 1998 to require the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meal, pastas, rice, and other grain products to help with folic acid deficiencies, especially during pregnancy.
Common enriched foods include breads, cereals and white flour. These food products provide nutrients making them more nutritious. Some enriched foods, however can be over processed and loaded with sugar. Enriched foods have had fiber and nutrients removed during processing, so sometimes it is better to choose a less processed alternative. This is why it’s important to read food labels! White rice is often enriched, that is why brown rice is a more nutritious alternative that gives you more fiber. Also, many cereal brands are now enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals that look appealing to the eye, however these cereals are also usually packed with high sugar and preservatives.
So remember, there is a difference between enriched and fortified foods, and it doesn’t always mean that the product is healthy. You must read food labels, especially ingredients, to make sure the products you are consuming do not have too much sugar or processed ingredients! Keep in mind that enrichment and fortification are here to help us make products more healthier… however choosing natural foods with natural vitamins and minerals in them are a much better alternative!