Author(s): Hasler CM
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Abstract Functional foods can be considered to be those whole, fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that provide health benefits beyond the provision of essential nutrients (e.g., vitamins and minerals), when they are consumed at efficacious levels as part of a varied diet on a regular basis. Linking the consumption of functional foods or food ingredients with health claims should be based on sound scientific evidence, with the "gold standard" being replicated, randomized, placebo-controlled, intervention trials in human subjects. However, not all foods on the market today that are claimed to be functional foods are supported by enough solid data to merit such claims. This review categorizes a variety of functional foods according to the type of evidence supporting their functionality, the strength of that evidence and the recommended intakes. Functional foods represent one of the most intensively investigated and widely promoted areas in the food and nutrition sciences today. However, it must be emphasized that these foods and ingredients are not magic bullets or panaceas for poor health habits. Diet is only one aspect of a comprehensive approach to good health.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Probiotics & Health