Differing types of claim nutritional and health claims

European experts suggest the following definition of claim:

A claim is any direct or indirect statement, symbol, suggestion, implication or any other form of communication (including the brand name) that a good has particular characteristics relating to its origin, properties, effect, nature, method of production, processing, composition or any other quality.5

For functional foods different types of claims are defined and classified by international bodies such as Codex Alimentarius or the European Commission, or by national organizations/committee/authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US or the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom.5"11

There are nutrition claims, nutrient content claims, comparative claims, claims related to dietary guidelines and healthy eating pattern, nutrient function or 'structure/function' claims, 'enhanced-function' claims, health claims and reduction of disease-risk claims. Nutrient content claims, comparative claims, nutrient function claims, enhanced-function claims and healthy eating claims can be classified as subsections of nutrition claims, while reduction of disease-risk claims can be seen as health claims. Nutrition claims have been defined as any representation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including but not limited to the energy value and the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as the content of vitamins and minerals.6

Nutrient content claims refer to the level of a nutrient (nutrients) in a food/ food product. These claims can be expressed as 'low fat', 'low in saturated fat', 'high in fibre', 'reduced cholesterol', 'rich in calcium', or 'source of calcium'.

Codex Alimentarius also defines comparative claims, which compare the levels of the nutrient in different food products (two or more) by using such words as 'more than', 'less than', 'reduced', 'increased'; for example: 'contains 50% more calcium than regular milk'.

Healthy eating pattern claims relate to the dietary guidelines and recommendations of national or international authorities on healthy diets. Examples of such claims are: 'Diet low in saturated fat is recommended by ...', '... recommends a daily intake of 800 mg of calcium', '... recommends an enhanced fibre intake.'

Nutrient function claims (or structure/function claims) describe the physiological role of a nutrient and its relation to normal functions of the body, but must not refer to abnormal (pathological) conditions. Examples include 'calcium is necessary for bone structure', 'calcium helps to develop strong bones and teeth', 'vitamin E protects fat from oxidation'. The Codex Alimentarius Committee has stated that nutrient function claims should be related to essential nutrients for which reference values have been established and to nutrients which are mentioned in official dietary guidelines or recommendations.7'10'12 The food products for which nutrient function claims are made should be an important source of the nutrient in the usual diet.

All these types of nutrition claim are based on established knowledge of nutrients and their physiological functions, which must be widely accepted by the scientific community. So-called 'enhanced function' (functional) claims and reduction of disease-risk or health claims are particularly important for functional food. These types of claims relate to specific beneficial effects of foods or food components, whether nutrients and non-nutrients. Enhanced function or functional claims describe the beneficial effects of food components on physiological or psychological functions, metabolic activities, cellular and biochemical process, beyond the established role of these foods in normal functions of the body. These claims do not refer directly to any healthy benefits or disease risk reduction. Examples of claims of enhanced function are: 'calcium improves bone density', 'antioxidants reduce the risk of oxidative stress', 'folate helps reduce plasma homocysteine levels', 'non-digestible oligosacharides improve the growth of bacterial flora in the gut'.

Claims that suggest that foods or food components have an impact on health - in improving good health or a condition related to a disease - have been called health claims.5,10 An important subgroup of claims are disease-risk reduction claims. They state that a food or its component may help to reduce the risk of a disease. Examples of such claims include: 'Adequate intake of calcium may help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis', 'Adequate intake of folate by women may reduce the risk of having children with neural tube defect', 'Food low in fat and cholesterol can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease'.

Claims have to follow specific criteria to ensure consumers are not misled or confused. Nutritional and health claims must be based on documented scientific information, validated, supported by evidence, complete, objective and verifiable. Claims must be clear and understandable by consumers.5,12 It is essential that claims for functional foods fulfil these criteria and special attention must be paid to objective scientific validation of functional and health claims.10,11,13,14

2.3 Criteria for demonstrating functional effects

Evidence of the effects of functional foods has to be based on objective criteria developed and accepted by the scientific community. Functional foods have to beneficially modulate target functions of the body, which are relevant to improved state of health or well-being, or for reduction of disease risk. As a result, based on current knowledge, the target function to be modulated has to be clearly defined. A set of markers can be used to define the function, demonstrate its modulation and demonstrate the effects of the modulation (Fig. 2.1). Different types of markers may be chosen: biochemical, physiological or behavioural.4 Markers may directly represent either an event of interest or correlated events. Markers must be specific, sensitive, reproducible, validated and biologically significant. They should be related to: the target functions, function improvement or biological response improvement, or to appropriate intermediate end-points of improved health or reduced disease risk.4,11,13 Markers should register short- and long-term impact of the foods. It should also

• Reduction of risk of pathological processes

• Modulation of pathological processes

Fig. 2.1 Basis for functional claims and disease-risk reduction claims for functional foods.

Fig. 2.1 Basis for functional claims and disease-risk reduction claims for functional foods.

• Reduction of risk of pathological processes

• Modulation of pathological processes be possible to use these markers in safety assessment of functional foods. Markers of exposure to the foods (food components) are also needed. All markers must fulfil standard quality control criteria.

Using a defined set of markers the modulation of relevant target functions and the improvement of the target biological process must be documented. The functional effects have to be demonstrated in human nutrition studies for all members of a population or for particular group clearly defined by specific markers for example: by age, sex or genetic markers. Based on data on dose-dependent effects, the functional effects of realistic amounts of foods consumed as part of the daily diet has to demonstrated. The assessment of the safety of the amount of foods needed for functional effects has also to be performed, documented and presented according to accepted standards.

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Atkins Low Carb Diet Recipes

Atkins Low Carb Diet Recipes

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