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ADA releases updated position statement on functional foods
Date:3/31/2009

s" is not a legal term but a marketing term. The American Dietetic Association defines functional foods as those that "move beyond necessity to provide additional health benefits that may reduce disease risk and/or promote optimal health. Functional foods include conventional foods, modified foods (fortified, enriched or enhanced), medical foods and foods for special dietary uses."

Examples of conventional food with functional properties include broccoli, nuts and tomatoes. Modified foods include calcium-enhanced orange juice, folate-enriched breads and foods formulated with bioactive ingredients like fish oils, plant sterol esters or lutein. Medical foods include PKU formulas free of phenylalanine. Foods for special dietary uses include gluten-free and lactose-free foods.

ADA's position paper reviews aspects of functional foods including:

  • Factors driving the growth of the functional foods industry, such as increased consumer interest in controlling one's own health; rising health-care costs; and scientific research linking diet to chronic disease reduction.

  • Regulation of functional foods in the United States, noting that "boundaries between what is a food and what is a medicine have been challenged by both consumers and manufacturers since the mid-1980s," leading to "dramatic changes in food regulation that have fueled a so-called functional foods revolution."

  • Emphasizing that health claims on the benefits of functional foods and their physiologically active components should be based on the standard of significant scientific agreement.

  • "Take-home messages" for food and nutrition professionals, such as staying informed on this growing field of food and nutrition; educating clients and patients on appropriate intake of functional foods in the context of a healthful diet; working with corporations to develop functional foods that maximize health benefits; conducting research that expands the kn
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Contact: Jennifer Starkey
media@eatright.org
312-899-4802
American Dietetic Association
Source:Eurekalert

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