Can functional foods reduce the risk of disease? Advancement of functional food definition and steps to create functional food products

Danik Martirosyan, Hunter Kanya, Camila Nadalet


The definition of functional foods (FFs) has been in development for many years by the Functional Food Scientists of the Functional Food Institute/Functional Food Center (FFC). The status of the FFC’s definition is currently unrecognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),but recognition is important for the safe, uniform development and disbursement of functional food products (FFPs) that could improve the health of Americans and people around the world struggling with chronic and viral diseases. If functional foods were to be properly termed using the FFC’s current definition, they would be classified as a drug according to the FDA. Thus, the FFC is in communication with governmental representatives to determine the next steps for functional foods to be properly acknowledged. To that end, the FFC is revising its current definition of functional foods to fit a more accurate and encompassing idea of the nature of what functional foods do. This includes a shift to stressing how functional foods promote optimal health, reduce the risk of chronic/viral disease, and manage their symptoms.

Additionally, the process of developing a functional food product must be standardized to ensure the safety of administering bioactive compounds as a health optimization tool. This process follows the methodology of functional food science, which is a potential new form of life science proposed by the Functional Food Center. Over time, the FFC has been developing the appropriate steps to create a functional food product, however, in this article, new steps are emphasized, such as epidemiological studies and after-market research—vital steps to ensuring the safest and most efficacious product is released to the public. Functional foods are not meant to take the place of conventional medicine. They can, however, be used in conjunction with Western medicine and serve as an aid to health optimization for people with chronic/viral diseases and prioritize the management of symptoms associated with those diseases.

Keywords: functional foods, bioactive compounds, biomarkers, functional food science, functional food products, epidemiological studies

Full Text: [Abstract] [Full Article]

DOI: 10.31989/ffhd.v11i5.788


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