Is Fortification the answer? - The roots of Orange Juice
According to the Mayo Clinic, functional foods are foods that have potentially positive effects on health beyond basic nutrition.
Examples of such functional foods would be foods that have added vitamins or other functional components (fatty acids, flavonoids, sterols, etc.) that would help decrease risk for diseases. Products such as margarines, bread, and oats are just a few functional foods that we see functional components added to.
I decided to look into calcium fortified orange juice. Calcium not only helps with nerve impulses and muscle contractions but plays a major role in supporting the bones and teeth function and structure.
Calcium is naturally found in many foods (collard greens, kale, soy beans, figs, oranges, sardines, salmon, shrimp, yogurt, mozzarella, etc.) but is also fortified in many foods (oatmeal, english muffins, tofu, orange juice, almond milk, rice milk, etc.), calcium fortified orange juice being one that I am most familiar with.
In an article published in 1997 by Food Processing, it states that Tropicana ought to have had the prize for best timing and release of it’s Pure Premium Orange Juice with Calcium & Extra Vitamin C.
This was directly after the new guidelines were formatted and published stating the need for an increase of recommended calcium, specifically targeting the elderly population. In addition, according to the U.S. Report Healthy People 2000, The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, it targeted calcium as one of two nutrients that was singled out by the federal government as constituting a national attention for severe deficiency. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that 54 million Americans still suffer from low bone density or osteoporosis, a disease that is characterized as bone loss making your bones week and frail. Osteoporosis has been found to be directly linked with poor absorption of calcium.
Food manufacturers interpreted the increase for daily recommended intake of calcium as an incentive to add calcium to it’s products. At the time, Tropicana’s orange juice was the only not from concentrate orange juice that contained a patented calcium source Fruitcal, also known as calcium citrate malate (CCM), hence the optimal timing for release. Fruitcal was thought to be readily absorbable for the individual with a whopping 350 mg of calcium per cup of orange juice. Interestingly, even with the terrible claims and marketing advertisements, the calcium fortified orange juice works.
The calcium availability by adding the Fruitcal to it’s product was so good, it was found to be just as successful or similar to the availability of calcium from cow’s milk.