Are new “women-targeted” foods an excellent way to pack one’s diet with more nutrition, or a marketing scheme that may do more harm than good? On the average supermarket shelf, you’ll see Luna bars (“created to meet the special needs of our bodies”), folic acid and soy protein rich Harmony cereal, French Meadow Women’s Bread, and Quaker Oats’ “Nutrition For Women” oatmeal fortified with vitamins A, B, D and E. Yet, women should be careful about consuming too much vitamin A or B-6, which can be toxic to the body.
Something Is Better Than Nothing…
On one hand, the American Dietetic Association says these women-only foods can help busy women get essential nutrients that they typically lack – calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, magnesium and zinc. For women of child-bearing age, folic acid is another healthy nutrient in short supply. Since it can be challenging to get 100 percent of the recommended value of every nutrient each day, fortified foods can help.
Best Foods Designed For Women
- Luna Bars
- Natural Vitality
- Harmony Cereal
- French Meadow Women’s Bread
- Quaker Instant Oatmeal’s Nutrition for Women
Yet, Nothing Beats A Balanced Diet.
On the other hand, critics of women’s-only products contend that these fortified snacks can’t stack up against healthy foods like milk, leafy greens, fruits, tofu and beans, which pack a more powerful nutritional punch. They add that most of these products contain a little more of the essential nutrients than regular varieties, but are still below well the daily recommended value. Researchers find that, when properly educated, women will buy healthier foods or supplements in the stores, so fortifying foods is not always necessary.
Image by Elaine Vigneault
Contact NYC Nutritionist, Carly Feigan at 212-706-4298 for your free 15 minute consultation.