Breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, sports drinks—more and more foods formulated for women now appear on supermarket shelves. Do you need them? Are they only for women?
These products are formulated to fill nutrition gaps. They may have more folate for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy heart, more iron to replace what’s lost in menstrual flow, more calcium to protect against menopausal bone loss, soy with isoflavone’s hormonelike benefits to relieve the discomforts of menopause. Except that women need more iron, these same foods may benefit men, too.
That said,with too many fortified foods, you may overdo on nutrients, especially if you take a supplement already. Traditional foods can fill in any nutrition gap just as well, and perhaps for less cost.
If you reach for gender-targeted foods:
- Read the label. Check the sugar, sodium, and calorie content on the Nutrition Facts. Buy only if they fill a need you don’t meet another way.
- Be realistic about the promise. Remember, no food offers a magic bullet for health.