retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about so-called functional foods, which have developed into a $30.7 billion industry that is expected to grow another 40 percent over the next five years.

“But can these fortified Frankenfoods deliver on the health promises they claim?” the Journal asks. “And can they compete with taking supplements or eating straight from the source?”

To break a 1,300-word article down into fewer than 100 words, some experts say that functional foods – which essentially are foods enhanced with compounds or ingredients with specific health benefits – are highly effective, while some say that any processing reduces efficacy and that whole foods are the best way to go. And some say that the act of adding an ingredient with a health benefit can obscure the fact that a product may not necessarily be healthy overall, and so shopper beware.
KC's View:
I like the approach advocated in the Journalpiece by Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, associate professor of medicine and human nutrition at Johns Hopkins University: "A lot of this boils down to common sense. As with all foods, the key here is simply to get it from a good source and eat it in moderation."

Example. I like yogurt. For weight reasons, I only eat nonfat yogurt. And nonfat yogurt with probiotics – in my case the private label variety manufactured and sold by Stew Leonard’s – seems like a smart choice for both nutritional and economic reasons.

As long as it is consumed in moderation, and with eyes wide open.