What are functional foods?

May 1, 2011 - 0:0

Functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health.

Of course, all foods are functional in the sense that they have nutrients or other substances that provide energy, sustain growth or support vital processes.
However, functional foods are generally considered to offer additional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health. Examples of so-called functional foods include calcium-fortified orange juice and spreads with omega-3 added.
- What does FDA do?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates claims that manufacturers make about functional foods' nutrient content and effects on disease, health or body function.
It is important to note, however, that the FDA doesn't use the term ""functional foods."" The FDA regulates these types of foods according to whether a food is considered to be a conventional food, a food additive, a dietary supplement, a medical food or a food for special dietary use.
- Where does that leave you?
If you're like most consumers, you're probably confused. Indeed, the FDA has expressed concern about the proliferation of health claims on food labels and is looking at ways to make it easier to distinguish healthy food choices from less healthy ones. In the meantime, your best bet is to eat a balanced and varied diet.
(Source: mayoclinic.com)