Corrie Cox DTC 618 Minipaper #3 7/20/2010 Functional Foods & Heart Health According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), functional foods are considered“conventional foods, modified food, medical foods, and foods used for special dietary use that mayprovide additional health benefits, reduce the risk of disease, and promote optimal health (1).” Withinthe past few decades, researchers have conducted studies on food products, with a specific focus onfunctional foods. They have found significant links between nutrition-health connections, and as aresult food product companies petitioned to change food labeling laws. In 1997, an American cerealcompany along with the National Cancer Institute was awarded the first food-specific health claim fortheir oat product. This led to changes in food labeling laws including FDA health claims regulations.Dietary supplements also began to promote links between nutrition-health connections which increasedprofit margins (1). This paper focuses on functional foods, their dietary sources, and how they effectheart disease. Common functional foods that contain dietary sources associated with heart healthinclude oats, soy, flaxseed, tea, wine, grapes, fish, and dairy products (2). Statistically significant results have shown the consumption of oat products containing thecholesterol-lowering soluble fiber b-glucan can reduce total and low density lipoprotein (LDL), thusreducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (2). Between 1980 and 1995, the Quaker OatsCompany conducted 37 human clinical intervention trials and the majority of these studies showedreduction on total and LDL cholesterol in subjects with high cholesterol. It was determined that 3 g ofb-glucan is required to achieve a 5% reduction in serum cholesterol; therefore a food bearing healthclaim must contain 13g of oat bran or 20 g of oatmeal and at least 1.0 g of b-glucan per serving.
Soy, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect, is a high quality protein now thought to play apreventative and therapeutic role in cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 1995 a meta-analysis, whichinvolved 38 studies, found that the consumption of soy protein significantly reduced total cholesterol,LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides; in addition, there was a significant increase in HDL cholesterol.The exact dietary source responsible for lowering cholesterol has not been specified, althoughisoflavones have been associated. However, at 25 g of soy intake, the effects on blood lipids becamesignificant. On August 12, 1998 the FDA awarded Protein Technologies International (PTI) the healthclaim the soy protein containing products can reduce the risk of CHD. Fish is a functional food which is high in the dietary source omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids. Thecurrent Western diet is suggested to be deficient in n-3 fatty acids when compared to the diet on whichhumans evolved. As a result, researchers examined the role of n-3 fatty acids in diseases, particularlyCVD. Mixed results have been reported and the heart healthy effect of fish consumption has beenobserved in some studies (2), but not in others (3). This could be due to the fact that n-3 fatty acidshave been shown to lower triglycerides by 25-30%; however, they do not lower LDL cholesterol. Areview of 72 placebo-controlled human trials, showed that n-3 fatty acids increased LDL cholesterol(2). On the other hand, a Chicago Western Electric Study reported consumption of 35 g or more of fishdaily significantly reduced the risk of death from nonsudden myocardial infarction (4). In addition, astudy conducted by Albert and colleagues reported one serving of fish per week significantly reducedthe risk of total cardiovascular mortality after 11 years in more than 20,000 U.S. male physicians (5). Red wine has been linked to reducing the risk of CVD, and recent evidence supports this healthclaim (2). Researchers dating back to 1979, reported a strong negative correlation between wine intakeand death from ishcemic heart disease in both men and women from 18 countries. Red wine has a highphenolic content and consumption of it has shown to increase HDL levels. Phenolic substances havethe ability to prevent oxidation of LDL levels, high levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with heart
disease. Recent research is focusing on consumption of non-alcoholic components of wine such asflavonoids. Another beverage commonly associated with reducing the risk of heart disease is tea. Currentresearch shows some evidence that tea consumption may also reduce the risk of CVD, however furtherresearch needs to be conducted. A study conducted by Hertog and colleagues found that teaconsumption in elderly men in the Netherlands provided the major source of flavonoids in their diet.The five major flavonoids included: quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, apigenin, and luteolin. Thesefive flavonoids, derived from tea consumption, showed a reduced mortality rate associated with CHDin the elderly male population. Strong evidence supports that functional foods contain dietary sources that may enhance hearthealth, but more research must be conducted (1). Functional foods should not be a substitute for a wellbalanced diet, which is the foundation for good nutrition, rather they should be added into a hearthealthy diet (6). Even though strong evidence supports functional food and heart health, consumersmust understand that by adding a particular food to ones diet does not mean the nutrient will guaranteethe desired effects. Therefore, consumers must consult a Registered Dietitian and their physician to seewhat will work best for them. The ADA states that all foods, on some level, are classified as functionalfoods (1). Food provides necessary nutrient and substances for optimal growth, energy, maintenance,and repair (1).
References: 1. ADA. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Phytochemicals and functional foods. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 1995; 95: 493-496. 2. Hasler C. Functional Foods: Their Role in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Food Technology. 1998; 52(2):57-62. 3. Ascherio A., Rimm E., Stampfer M., Giovannucci E., and Willett W. Dietary intake of marine n-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of coronary disease among men. New Eng. J. Med. 1995; 332: 977-982. 4. Daviglus M., Stammer J., Oretic A., Dyer A, Il K., Greenland P., Walsh M., Morris D., and Shekelle R. Fish consumption and the 30-year risk of fatal myocardial infarction. New Eng. J. Med. 1997; 336: 1046-1053. 5. Albert C., Hennekens C., ODonnell C., Ajani U., Carey V., Willett W., Ruskin J., and Manson J. Fish consumption and risk of sudden cardiac death. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 1998; 279: 23-28. 6. American Council on Science Health [Internet]. [updated 2004 June 30; cited 2010 July 19]. Available from: http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.396/news_detail.asp.