Conclusion and future trends

The discussion in this chapter has focused on the need for new tests of the nutritional functionality of foods, and on making information from such tests relevant in the sense of helping consumer choice for wellbeing. Without such data, neither food processors nor consumers will be able to make the choices required for the development of healthier food products on the one hand, and healthier diets on the other. The primary justification for objective nutrition research is that it improves health, and if food choice is part of that, nutritional information needs to facilitate healthy food choice to be truly relevant.

It has been estimated that the market for functional foods in the USA will be worth US$ 34 billion in 2010,86 and that 'do it yourself' health, based on supplements and functional/fortified foods is at present a US$ 42 billion oppor-



No claim Source of fibre High in fibre

No claim Source of fibre High in fibre

Nutrient claim

Very high in fibre

  1. 7.5 Faecal bulking efficacy as wheat bran equivalents (WBEg,) per serving of breakfast cereals classified by the nutrient claims for dietary fibre in Australasia (no claim, <1.5 g fibre/serving; source of fibre, 1.5-3 g fibre/serving; high in fibre, 3-6 g fibre/serving; very high in fibre, >6g dietary fibre/serving), relative to the mean WBEg, contribution per serving (6.7) required to satisfy average adult requirements in a diet containing 10 servings per day of dietary fibre sources.
  2. 87 But there have also been signs that consumer support for some functional foods is faltering. Given the flood of functional foods onto the market, coupled with inadequate information for discriminatng between products, confusion and mistrust generated by extravagant claims, and apparently conflicting statements from nutritionists, some resistance in consumers who do not know what to believe or what to choose, is understandable.

For the future, then, several needs must be met:

  1. New information on the health-relevant food properties of specific foods from new tests of nutritional efficacy.
  2. More comprehensive data sets to supplement food composition tables with data that better reflects health effects of foods.
  3. Forms of data that are meaningful, for use in healthier food selection at point of sale.
  4. Education to help give meaning to nutritional information for healthier food choices.

The need for new tests and biomarkers to assess nutritional functionality is well recognised,88 and detailed attention has been given to characteristics required of tests for them to be valid predictors of food effects on health end-points.38 Such discussions will give impetus to further work required to identify valid bio-markers and other measures for predicting effects of food components and properties on health.

The properties of individual processed foods have been the focus of this chapter, but at a higher level of complexity, interactions between foods in meals, and the place of foods in dietary patterns will be important determinants of health. Even when the efficacy of a food has been well established, its role in the diet, and the ways that other foods may modulate its effectiveness will need to be clarified.

Many of the properties of foods that are beneficial to health are characteristic of unprocessed or 'whole' foods, and there is a movement to exploit the benefits of natural structure, as seen in the recent promotion of whole grains.89,90 The same tests that are used to monitor nutritional effects of food processing in formulated products will be valuable in identifying processes that preserve the intrinsic value of natural foods.

Dieting Dilemma and Skinny Solutions

Dieting Dilemma and Skinny Solutions

The captivating thing about diets is that you don't get what is researched or predicted or calculated but rather, you get precisely what you expect. If the diet resonates with you then it will likely work, if it doesn't resonate, it won't.

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