Critical Functional Foods Research Gaps

Food and nutrition scientists have been investigating the health benefits of a variety of food components using animal and human studies.  Several studies have intersected with genomics, plant physiology, agriculture, and medicine, among other disciplines.  As our knowledge grows further about food components with potential health benefits, we are in a better position to explore the mechanisms behind their potential positive role in human health and how food, genes, and the human body interact to cultivate positive impacts of functional foods.  Cost-effectiveness studies and drug-nutrient interaction studies will advance our understanding of the co-benefits of nutrient-drug therapies.

More rigorous scientific study will help advance the science of functional foods, particularly more human studies, tracking changes in larger and more diverse subject populations.  More research and development is needed to understand the technological aspects of creating functional foods and creating the necessary laboratory equipment to analysis their amount and benefits within food and the human body.  Additional consumer research will help market functional foods effectively and help address confusion consumers have about health, nutrition, and functional foods. 

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