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Are Functional Foods In Fact “Functional”?

May 14, 2011: 09:45 AM EST
Do functional foods really provide the health benefits their manufacturers promise? The New York Times explores the issue, asking whether the millions of dollars spent by millions of consumers on foods and beverages that claim to lower cholesterol, help the heart and the waistline, improve digestion, etc., really do any of that. Functional food sales hit $37.3 billion in the U.S. in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2005. Federal regulators have begun to police the claims of big food producers. Multimillion-dollar settlements were reached with Wrigley and Dannon. The companies defend their claims, of course, but nutrition experts say functional foods are not about health, “they are,” as nutrition professor Marion Nestle says, “about marketing.”
Natasha Singer, "Foods With Benefits, or So They Say", New York Times, May 14, 2011, © The New York Times
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