Functional Foods

Updated May 20, 2017

Functional foods

IFT’s web-based content on functional foods is intended to serve as a resource on the latest science on the health benefits of functional foods and regulations, for a variety of interested stakeholders.

All food is functional through its provision to the body of energy and nutrients necessary for survival.  As food and nutrition science has advanced from identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies to designing foods that promote optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic disease, the term “functional food,” which is evolving, has been described by IFT’s subject matter experts as foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition (for the intended population).  Functional foods provide essential nutrients often beyond quantities necessary for normal maintenance, growth, and development, and/or other biologically active components that impart health benefits or desirable physiological effects.  Functional foods may include, for example, naturally occurring components of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber in certain breads and cereals, calcium in milk, and fortified foods and beverages, such as vitamin D fortified milk.

Contact Farida Mohamedshah at 202-330-4986 or, with questions.

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