How a nutritionist thinks we should get B12
I can’t believe this ‘stocking filler’ article in Good Health in the Daily Mail today. I can’t find it on line, but I have a paper copy next to me (p47 November 9th 2010)…
There’s a small article called “Vitamin Maths” where Angela Dowden, nutritionist, advises Daily Mail readers how to get their vitamin B12. B12 is an interesting vitamin, as it’s the only one found exclusively in animal foods. That tells me straight away that we need to eat some animal foods – vegans need to take a supplement or an injection, which isn’t the natural way to consume B12. I was a veggie for 20 years, so I do sympathise with the animal argument, but I do think we need to do as much as we can to be healthy ourselves.
Anyway – the article written by Ms Dowden (and there are pictures to help you out) says that one creme egg plus 2 grilled cod fish fingers will give you 1 microgram of B12. The creme egg delivering 0.4mcg of B12 and the breaded fish fingers delivering the remaining 0.6mcg. I don’t know if this is true – I don’t eat processed food. I’ll assume that it is. However, I’m trying to think if there is a less healthy way to get vitamin B12 – you would surely be better off going vegan and taking a B12 injection than getting your daily need of B12 in this format!
The creme egg ingredients are: Milk Chocolate: Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fat, Emulsifiers: E442 and Soya Lecithin, Flavourings. Fondant: (48%) Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Dried Egg White, Flavouring, Colour: Sunset Yellow.
The main source of B12 in there is the milk – so drink milk! (The dried egg white sounds gross, but may provide some). The creme egg delivers 170 calories and you would only need 60 calories worth of milk (100 grams) to get the same 0.4mcg of B12 for the day – and that’s real milk – not the low fat rubbish.
Milk, however, is still not a great source of B12 (hence how even vegetarians struggle to get enough of this nutrient) – meat is far better. 6 grams of liver, at a tiny 7 calories, will deliver your entire 1mcg recommended daily amount (which is still based on minimal basics, not optimal health). As Sally Fallon Morell said – why are we only allowed a certain level of nutrition?!
Moving on to the fish fingers – I checked a sample on line in a grocery store. The ingredients were: Cod fillet (58%), crumb coating. Crumb coating contains wheat flour, palm oil, water, potato starch, wheat starch, salt, yeast, turmeric, mustard powder, natural colours paprika extract and curcumin, pepper extract, emulsifier mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids. I’m not big on this calorie lark but did a bit of research and 2 fingers seem to come in at around 110.
Again – the only goodness is in the real food – the fish. Swap your 110 calories and c. 20 ingredients for one sardine and you get 1.1mcg of B12 for 25 calories.
So we have 280 calories of processed rubbish, and more ingredients than you can count or a handful of grams of liver for a handful of calories or one sardine for 25 calories. This is why people are choosing to take their health into their own hands (as I have done). This is what gets nutritionists a bad name. Please Ms Dowden – people should be eating real food, not man-made processed food. This is not good advice.