New Era of Functional Food Development Projected

Sep 9, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Dr. Peter Jones – University of Manitoba 

The director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals is confident a greater awareness of the health benefits of plant sterols will usher in a new era of food product development.

Plant sterols are natural compounds found in plant material and their chemistry is similar to cholesterol.

They perform similar roles in plant cells as cholesterol performs in animal cells and studies have shown increasing the consumption of plant sterols reduces the absorption of cholesterol, lowering body pools of cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Dr. Peter Jones, the director of the University of Manitoba’s Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, notes over 40 countries are now selling foods that contain added plant sterols.

Says Dr. Peter Jones-University of Manitoba:

If you look in your local food store now you will see these plant sterol-enriched products.

They have just been approved not only to be sold in Canada as functional foods in the middle of May but also to bear label claims so they proudly proclaim that they will lower your cholesterol.

I think that this deregulation of plant sterols in Canada allowing these things to be sold as foods is really going to herald a new era because for the first time we’re now allowing functional foods in our grocery stores that bear claims that proclaim a disease risk reduction connection.

I think this is paving the way for a new suite of products that we’ll see enter the market place in the next couple of years.

Whether it’s omega-3s, whether it’s fibres, whether it’s resveratrol, whether it’s other anti-inflamatory or antioxidant-promoting compounds, I think we’re going to see a new era and I’m delighted that we’re working in this direction.

Dr. Jones notes the foods being enriched with plant sterols range from yogurts to margarines and even chocolate, lemonade and orange juice.

For UniversityNews.Org, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

*This first appeared in the September 9 edition of University News, a presentation of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences, to learn more click here.

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