Evaluating Popular Functional Foods
Let's use good judgment (and a little research) to evaluate some popular functional foods on the market today.
Activia Yogurt by Dannon
Dannon claims that "Activia Yogurt is clinically proven to help naturally regulate your digestive system in two weeks." The functional ingredient of this yogurt is the bacteria bifidum regularis.
Evaluation: There is no research showing that Activia Yogurt helps people who are bloated and irregular. Four studies have been conducted on “healthy” men and women who had no complaints of gastrointestinal problems. After two weeks, it took between 10 and 30 fewer hours for food to travel through their intestinal tracts. Dannon reports that this can reduce gas production, but they really don’t know since gas production was not measured. Dannon reports that this can also help with bloating, but since these volunteers had no intestinal complaints to begin with, no one knows this for sure.
Enviga by Coca-Cola & Nestle
The producers of Enviga claim that "when consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet and an exercise regime, Enviga may provide added benefits to help in weight control by boosting metabolism." The functional ingredients of this 12-ounce beverage include: 90 milligrams of green tea extract (known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG for short), 100 milligrams of caffeine, 20% of the daily value for calcium.
Evaluation: There is limited research on the calorie-burning efforts of EGCG and caffeine. The company funded research that reports drinking three cans daily, will boost your metabolism by 100 calories daily. However, the experiment lasted just three days and involved 32 people—a small number of subjects. All the participants were either lean or of normal body weight too. So who knows whether Enviga even affects the metabolisms of those who are overweight or obese? Continued ›