CHICAGO The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position on functional foods that says fortified, enriched or enhanced foods can benefit a person's health when consumed as part of a varied diet, encourages further research and urges continued efforts to educate the public on such foods.
ADA's position, published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the Association's official stance on functional foods:
"All foods are functional at some physiological level, but it is the position of the American Dietetic Association that functional foods that include whole foods and fortified, enriched or enhanced foods have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis, at effective levels. ADA supports research to further define the health benefits and risks of individual functional foods and their physiologically active components. Health claims on food products, including functional foods, should be based on the significant scientific agreement standard of evidence and ADA supports label claims based on such strong scientific substantiation. Food and nutrition professionals will continue to work with the food industry, allied health professionals, the government, the scientific community and the media to ensure that the public has accurate information regarding functional foods and thus should continue to educate themselves on this emerging area of food and nutrition science."
ADA's position statement and accompanying paper were written by Clare M. Hasler, PhD, MBA, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California Davis; and Amy C. Brown, PhD, RD, Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine.
The paper includes definitions of the term as used in different countries and notes "functional food
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American Dietetic Association