A new report put out by NPR.org has consumers thinking twice about food purchases.
Do those chocolate-coated fiber bars at the grocery store check-out line look enticing? Many products are infused with ‘added fiber’ these days, from Wonder Bread to puddings, pre-packaged macaroni and cheese dinners and snack bars. While eating them can be a better addition to a busy day than reaching for a simple bag of chips, experts are warning us to remember what these foods really contain.
“Highly processed snack bars typically contain combinations of processed starch and added sugar. They’re low in vitamins and minerals,” said Dr. David Ludwig of the Harvard School of Public Health to NPR.org. “Just adding isolated fiber back in [to these processed foods] does not cover up for those nutritional deficiencies.”
So, what is ‘added fiber’? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing the idea. The administration is examining 26 ingredients placed in foods by manufacturers to increase their fiber content, including things like gum acacia, bamboo fiber and retrograded corn starch.
Critics argue that since some are derived from plants and others are synthetic- and none of them increase your nutrient intake like fruits and veggies do-they shouldn’t count.
What’s your take? Are Americans going for processed brownies over real bananas, in order to increase their fiber intake, and does it matter? For the constipated kid who will only eat pasta, a bit of extra fiber in that Mac n’ Cheese could be a great boon…but maybe it’s missing the point.
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