Natural Foods Merchandiser

Fortified Foods Fail Drug Test
Researchers at Bassett Healthcare, a Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, have found a new culprit for the situations when antibiotics fail to relieve an infection: fortified foods.

A recent study tracked 15 volunteers taking the antibiotic Cipro with either water, orange juice or calcium-fortified orange juice. When they measured the concentrations of the drug in the patients' blood, researchers found that the fortified juice suppressed peak Cipro levels by 41 percent compared to water.

Cipro is among several antibiotic drugs that are members of the fluoroquinolones family, which are known to interact with certain minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron and zinc. The minerals bind with drugs in the intestine and prevent absorption. Though drug labels usually warn consumers against mineral supplements or antacids, no warnings are printed concerning fortified foods, which can contain the minerals.

Two-A-Day, Whatever
Despite recent record budgets for marketing campaigns like the 5 A Day program, produce consumption is on the decline, according to a recent study from the NPD Group.

The average American eats 754 servings of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables per year, down from 820 in 1997 and 890 in 1990. The study broke down findings by demographic and age groups as well, determining that older consumers are more likely to hit the 5 A Day target. Thirty-seven percent of those 65 or older get the minimum daily recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables, compared to 30 percent of those 55 to 64, and the numbers go down from there. Most alarmingly, only 3 percent of children reach the benchmark.

The new study shows somewhat different rates of consumption than previous findings by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in part because the NPD Group measured how many fruits and vegetables were actually consumed, not just bought.

Percent of people by age that eat at least 5 servings of produce per day:

2-5

3%

6-12

4%

13-17

21%

18-34

16%

35-44

18%

45-54

24%

55-64

30%

65+

37%

Source: NPD Group

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 3/p. 72

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