Monday, November 24, 2008


Here working my second week at the Ryan Center and it dawned on me that the ear-massacring sound of crying is now background noise and I no longer hear it!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Functional Foods Functional?

What are they?
Foods that are fortified (increasing nutritive value with vitamins) with the intentions of promising a proposed health benefit.

Where can I find them?
Any grocery store carries functional foods. Some examples are Kellogg’s Special K brand, which includes fiber and soy protein in the cereal to produce “satiety.” PepsiCo launched “Diet Pepsi Max,” which was proposed to “provide a kick of energy” with its extra ginseng and caffeine.

Are they beneficial to my health?
Sometimes the claims are true; sometimes they aren’t. Tropicana fortified their Orange Juice with calcium and vitamin D: this is helpful for those who need the extra calcium. For the weight loss claims that have been made, there isn’t sufficient evidence for every statement. For example, functional weight-management products fall under three broad claims. One, products that suppress appetite; two, products that boost metabolism; three, products that inhibit macronutrients (such as fat, carbohydrate or protein). Since appetite suppression is complex, there needs to be more research done on products that have these claims.

Can they harm me?
Sometimes they can. Inhibiting a macronutrient from your diet is not healthy and can lead to malnutrition. In addition, “boosting your metabolism” can elevate your heart-rate, which doesn’t need to be stressed during non-active times. Stressing the heart on a daily basis with excess caffeine can lead to high blood pressure and potential heart trouble.

Take-Home Message:
Don’t believe it just because the claim was made. Many companies are quick to boast about the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (a substance of plant origin that has nutritive value, e.g., iso-flavonoids in green tea) found in a certain product. These companies rely upon YOU, the consumer to assume that these compounds in any quantity are good for health. In addition, these companies assume that vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are protective for health even when extracted from the food or plant, itself. This is not always the case, since food compounds work in a synergistic way.

Fortified foods may have a place in your diet if you are deficient in a specific mineral, such as calcium, and are unable to obtain the vitamin or mineral through real foods. Try to detect if and when you are buying a product just for the claim being made. For example, more “vitamin A” doesn’t necessarily lead to greater health. Don’t let the word, itself, connote a sense of health. Watch out for false claims and be aware of appropriate quantities in the products you buy!

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)