This is the promised greatly expanded post that we touched on here: How Food Enrichment Made Us Fat, Diabetic, and Chronically Diseased. The Duck Dodgers team has been working on this for months and the purpose of that earlier post was to kinda crowdsource the idea, see if there were serious objections we weren’t aware of prior to putting it all out there more formally. In addition to the home team, we’ve also run this by a number of others and received lots of valuable feedback.
Keep in mind that we’re floating a hypothesis here, not claiming causality. And we think it’s solid, as it appears to work in every single obesity / disease “paradox” worldwide we can think of. Contrast that, say, to a hypothesis were dietary carbohydrate is per se behind the obesity epidemic. Well, right off the bat you have to contend with The Blue Zones where longevity is highest, and every single one consumes a carbohydrate rich diet…
Iron is an essential element for human beings—you can’t live without it. However, too much of it can be harmful. The US, UK and Canada are the only developed nations to have mandated iron enrichment of white flour, white breads, pastas, rice and cereals—no other developed countries do it. And as we’ll suggest, the policy has potentially been disastrous for our health, contributing to most of the major diseases of civilization including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Some countries, like Denmark, have even banned the imports of fortified foods. In fact, flour fortification is a practice that is almost exclusively practiced by third world countries
The reasoning behind iron fortification stems from the idea that some women are believed to have iron deficiency due to menstruation. Besides the fact that skewing the micronutrients of the food supply for a fraction of a population can be counterproductive for the majority, it turns out that the entire concept of women becoming anemic due to normal menstruation was recently disproved. There is no anemia epidemic due to menstruation. And even if there was, it would not warrant a modification to an entire nation’s diet.