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The Groups of Functional Foods

Hello again.

I tried to explain what functional foods are and how we should consume it in the last weeks. In this page, I am explaining the categories of functional foods. In my opinion, dividing into groups is the best way for defining something, so that you will understand functional foods much better at end of this post.

There are 4 main groups for functional foods;

  1. Enriched foods:Adding a nutrient to the foods which did not have this nutrient or include lesser. Probiotic yogurt andhigh fiberbiscuits are popular examples of enriched foods

  2. Modified foods:Taking an unwanted substance from the food and replacing it with a new more healthy substance.Low salty crackers, gluten-free bread, and low fat chips are within modified foods.

  3. Reinforced foods:Adding a nutrient like a vitamin or a mineral to foods.For example, juices with reinforced with vitamin C or soy milk with B12

  4. Improved foods:Growing or improving a food in unconventional ways.Fermented and probiotic juices,eggs with omega-3

If we want to classify more functional foods, there are 13 different groups

  1. Low-calorie foods

  2. Low-salty foods

  3. High fiber foods

  4. Gluten-free foods

  5. Energy/Sports foods

  6. Diabetic foods

  7. Enriched foods

  8. Special foods for phenylketonuria patients

  9. Probiotics and prebiotics foods

  10. Strengthen the immune system, delay aging, increase physical and mental performance

  11. Developed forreducingpre- or post menstrualsymptoms

  12. Enriched with resveratrol foods

  13. Modifiedfoods

I mentioned that functional foods must have proven health claims. In the table, you will see a different classification for functional foods prepared by EFSA. Functional foods are categorized by their benefits on the body.

Food companies are producing enriched, reinforced or improved functional foods and saying "this food makes your health better". Be careful about this. Labeling foods like this is forbidden by EFSA and FDA. Foods can be labeled "Iron is an essential nutrient for bones, so enriched foods with iron are healthy for the human body". As you see, it is so general and not specific for a food product. What is more, taking a functional food label is very hard in most of the countries including Turkey. Proven health claims need scientific research in the human body. These kinds of searches are very expensive and detailed because of the complexity of the human body. Hence, do not believe everything in commercials and demand proven health claims from companies.

In three pages, I wrote about general things regarding functional food. Let's go into details. I will explain baby foods on the next page. Actually I was thinking writing about sports food but today is World Children's Rights Day. So I changed my idea and chose helping mothers about infant nutrition.

2500 years ago Hippocrates said;

Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.

Value Hippocrates words and take care of yourself <3

Diplock AT, et al., 1999, Scientific Concepts of Functional Foods in Europe – Consensus Document, British Journal of Nutrition; 81(1):1-27

Bellisle F, et al. (Editors),1998, Functional Food Science in Europe – Theme Papers, British Journal of Nutrition; 80(Suppl S1):S1-S193

EFSA (Europen Food Safety Authority)

IFT (Institute of Food Technologists), Functional Foods Policy and Regulations,

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