Are Functional Foods Worth the Funds?

1 decade 2 years 9 months ago Friday, March 03 2006 Mar 3, 2006 Friday, March 03, 2006 5:45:07 PM CST March 03, 2006 in News

Water is a staple of 22-year-old Locklyn Brooks' fitness plan. The Duke Diet Center client also drinks milk fortified with extra calcium.

"Since I don't drink milk that often, it's good to add a little more in during the day," Brooks said.

Many nutrition experts are quick to promote the healing power of diets filled with things like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but some are skeptical about treating or preventing disease with so-called functional foods.

Duke Diet Center nutrition expert Elisabetta Politi gives them mixed reviews because they can be too much of a good thing.

"Too much of them, they are just going to be disposed of," she explained. "We've seen that with vitamin C. People who consumed an extra amount of C just found it in their urine."

She favors foods fortified with calcium and folic acid, while yogurt products packed with good bacteria designed to boost digestion are just all right.

The federal Food and Drug Administration does not regulate functional foods. Many seed companies promote vegetables like carrots and bread because they're high in vitamin A. But, nutrition experts warn that some vitamins and minerals, like iron, can be dangerous in high doses, while others may hinder your body's ability to absorb nutrients.

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