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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2003 Jan 11;147(2):60-5.

[Nutrition and health--sense and nonsense regarding food supplements and functional foods].

[Article in Dutch]

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  • 1Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Julius Centrum voor Gezondheidswetenschappen en Eerstelijnsgeneeskunde, Postbus 85.500, 3508 GA Utrecht.


A functional food is a proprietary food or beverage with a health-related claim. Such functional foods could make it easier to maintain a healthy diet. Unfortunately, in many countries regulations allow manufacturers to imply that a food promotes health without providing proper scientific evidence. At the same time, regulations may forbid claims that a food product prevents disease, even when it does (e.g. folic acid, which reduces the risk of neural tube defects). Functional foods may have beneficial health effects compared with traditional foods in some cases, but current legislation in the Netherlands cannot protect consumers from misleading claims.

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