More on functional foods

The level of consumption of the food that is required to achieve a beneficial effect on health is an important consideration. In particular, it should be possible to achieve the required level of intake of the functional food or ingredient within normal dietary patterns.

Functional foods may provide benefits in health terms, but should not be seen as an alternative to a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. In order to maximise health and wellbeing, people should be encouraged to avoid smoking, do plenty of physical activity and have a varied diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables. Functional foods do not provide a miracle solution to health problems but may be useful to some people as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Fruit and vegetables

A possible disadvantage of functional foods, from a health education point of view, is that they may obscure the boundaries between food groups (normally defined by the specific selection of nutrients that foods in each group provide). This inevitably influences the ease with which simple and practical dietary advice can be formulated. At the same time, functional foods are a good example of the advances made by industry in food technology and development.