Functional Food: Too much of a Good thing?

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Functional Food: Too much of a Good thing?


Strictly, all foods are “functional”: they serve the supply of nutrients. The term Functional Food refers to, by Definition, new food, which are intended to promote the health in addition to fabrics for this purpose with additional content are enriched minerals, fibers, vitamins, trace elements, microorganisms. That sounds futuristic and fits the Zeitgeist. The only question is whether it is also a Benefit behind it.

Functional food is not a novelty

Functionally, nothing New. Already in the last century, sailors discovered the connection between Vitamin C deficiency and scurvy. Tooth loss, muscle atrophy, weight loss and bleeding knew to avoid (dried) fruit (pickled) vegetables.

European consumers need to familiarize themselves with the numerous new products that are sold as Functional, yet familiar. Japanese have been operating for decades, the choice, by the consumption of certain food active health care. The effect is visible. Japanese women suffer less often from breast cancer than American or European. In Japan, addresses health-promoting ingredients since 1993, food with proof of government health authorities awarded.

Foshu and Functional food?

Meanwhile, more than 100 foods have received the prestigious FOSHU Label. New applications for the Label to one or more of the ingredients with scientifically recognized and studies have proven positive effect on health. Individual evidence of the effect are no longer necessary. Therefore, the number of FOSHU labelled products is increasing rapidly. The articles range from calcium-rich tea biscuits against iron deficiency, vitamin drinks to ice cream, which is enriched with lactic acid bacteria and dietary fiber.

In Japan it is already a lot of food for beauty: Drinks with hyaluronic acid or Collagen for a more beautiful skin, Gingko Chips, reduce Stress, and thus health and appearance improve, and food with stimulating substances. Europeans criticize a little strict control and selection of the certification. In America, the market is booming with Japanese FOSHU-foods.

Ingredients that can be certified

Dietary fibers Beta-Glucans, Wheat Bran, Psyllium
Oligosachharide, and sugar alcohols Frukto-Oligosaccharides, Maltitol
peptides and proteins Casein, Phosphopeptite
Secondary Plant Substances Phenols, Glycosides, Terpenes, Sterols
Vitamins Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), vitamins C and E
Coline Soya – and Egg Lecithin
Lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus La1
Minerals Iron, Calcium

Examples of functional foods

Food Alleged Health Benefits
Probiotic cultures of micro-organisms in fermented milk products Improvement and Regulation of intestinal functions
Margarine, Cheese Spreads, Yogurts Plant sterols and Stanols to reduce cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease
Eggs with essential Omega-3 fatty acids Eggs with essential Omega-3 fatty acids
Breakfast Cereals The addition of folic acid reduces the risk of Spina bifida (open spine) in the newborn
Bread, Granola Bars Isoflavones reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis
Low-Sodium Products Reduce High Blood Pressure
High percentages of soy protein, rich in soluble dietary fibres Positive effect on the cardiovascular system and the digestive
Products with a high content of folic acid Prevention of neural tube damage (Spina bifida or open spine in the newborn)
Products that are sweetened with sugar alcohols Prevention of dental caries
Products with antioxidants The promotion of the immune system, cancer prevention

Too much of a Good thing?

Nine out of ten Swiss people are convinced that nutrition is important for health. That Knowledge does not protect against errors, the fact that, nevertheless, even at us too much and ate too fat. The modern nutrition science is trying to lead people away from “reasonable” to “optimal” nutrition: Every woman and every man should take food of what the individual needs. Children and adolescents need sufficient vitamins for a healthy growth, and calcium for bone building, heavy physically working people more daily calories than someone who sits all week in front of the Computer. High performance athletes need to eat differently than older people.

The Details on the topic of


These foods are considered as Functional Food

What foods belong to Functional Food? Several hundreds of plants and substances with medical effects have already been identified and according to their… more