Functional Eating: a diet in disguise or a health miracle?
November 1, 2021 - By Dorothée Buteau-Poulin
The increased accessibility to information through social networks has its advantages, but also its share of drawbacks. When we add the contradictory opinions of health professionals and nutritional pseudo-experts to the mix, we don’t know who or what to believe.
Thankfully, our team of nutritionists is here to enlighten our often-confused clientele (and rightfully so!) about various nutrition topics. Among the more popular questions, what’s the best way to lose weight or what’s the healthiest diet are in fierce contention for first place. According to search results in Google, some suggest that functional eating is the easy answer to both questions. Well, let us look at the facts!
What is functional nutrition?
More and more people in Quebec, some health professionals and nutritional pseudo- experts swear by functional nutrition. They claim that it can improve your overall health, make you lose weight, improve your sports performance, and even treat chronic diseases (such as diabetes). There is no clear definition of functional eating, so you can give that title to just about any way you eat! How do these people teach it and pass it on to their clients?
A private health company in the United States offers a free training of only 90 minutes on functional eating. This means that it is easily accessible to everyone, and its use is not regulated. Even if the term “functional food” makes for good advertising in health and weight loss, this context allows us to doubt its credibility and its effectiveness…it is neither a diet it disguise nor a health miracle.
The EXTRAS of functional foods
According to the definition proposed by Health Canada in 2002, functional foods “have demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions”. Simply put, a functional food is similar in appearance to, or may be, a conventional food, is consumed as part of a usual diet, and can bring a little EXTRA to your overall health.
Here are some examples:
- Fatty fish (salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines) or enriched eggs for their omega-3 content: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Red or orange fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots and cantaloupe for their carotenoids and lycopene content: neutralization of free radicals associated with cell aging and the development of certain cancers
- Oat bran-based cereals, chia, and legumes for their soluble fiber content: improvement of intestinal transit and reduction of blood cholesterol levels
- Fermented products such as kefir, miso, and tempeh for their probiotic content: potential to improve the composition of the intestinal flora
In summary, eat more fresh, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods more often and in higher proportions, without forgetting the pleasure! In nutrition, there is no miracle food or diet, it is the work as a whole that has the power to significantly improve your overall health.
- Government of Canada. (October 4, 2002). Health Canada. Policy Paper – Nutraceuticals/Functional Foods and Health Claims on Foods https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-labelling/health-claims/nutraceuticals-functional-foods-health-claims-foods-policy-paper.html
- Nutrium. (20 octobre 2021). Extenso. Aliments – Légumes et fruits – aliments fonctionnels. https://extenso.org/article/les-aliments-fonctionnels/.
- Mozaffarian, D (2016). Dietary and policy priorities for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity: a comprehensive review. Circulation 133, 187–225.
Functional Eating: a diet in disguise or a health miracle? is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2021
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