NHM Health Focus: Functional
Study says Functional
Foods are at the threshold of unprecedented influence on public health.
"Food's impact on disease prevention poised to leap forward;
regulatory innovation benefiting consumer health is urged."
View the Archived Webcast:
Originally broadcast live March 24, 2005
1:30pm Eastern Time
Read IFT Report:
Opportunities and Challenges
-- Full Report
-- One Page Summaries
-- Frequently Asked Questions
-- News Releases
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has announced the release of a
new report saying that researchers have identified food components that
may improve memory, reduce arthritis, and provide other benefits heretofore
limited to drugs. It also suggests that that future benefits might include
foods for increased energy, mental alertness, and better sleep.
Known as Functional Foods, they are defined as foods and
food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition.
These foods are thought to enhance performance and deliver benefits
for conditions such as coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and neural
tube defects, and include conventional foods, fortified, enriched or
enhanced foods, and dietary supplements.
The IFT report is entitled Functional Foods: Opportunities and Challenges,
and can be found at http://www.ift.org/ExpertReport.
It was presented in a March 25 video Webcast from the National Press
Club in Washington DC available that is available for viewing at http://www.connectlive.com/events/foodtech/.
The press conference featured the following persons:
Fergus Clydesdale, Ph.D., Expert Report chair and co-author
Diane F. Birt, Ph.D., Expert Report co-author
Gilbert A. Leveille, Ph.D., Expert Report co-author
C. Ann Hollingsworth, Ph.D., Past-president IFT
Barbara Byrd Keenan, CAE, Exec. Vice President, IFT
The report finds that functional foods are at the threshold of unprecedented
influence on public health and disease prevention. It says that advances
in science and food technology are growing so rapidly that the food
industry and government must quicken their pace to ensure food's greatest
benefits on public health.
Discoveries in genetics make it possible to understand the effects
of nutrients in processes at the molecular level in the body and also
the variable effects of dietary components on the individual. The report
predicts that consumers could tailor their diets to meet changing health
goals and different requirements at different ages.
IFT's report is an exhaustive review of current methods, and emphasizes
recommendations to accelerate future research and development, regulation
and marketing of functional foods. The report calls for expanded research
on traditional nutrients, other bioactive food components, and the intersection
of genomics and molecular nutrition.
Additional information about research into functional foods and their
actions can be found at Purdue's Center for Enhancing
Foods to Improve Health, Phytochemical
Learning Resource and University of Illinois' Functional
Food for Health.