Functional food has been introduced as a new concept because the science of nutrition has changed. During the 20th century, nutritionists have discovered the essential nutrients, and they have established nutrient standards (Dietary Reference Intakes), dietary guidelines, and food guides (Figure 1.1). The main objectives of nutrition research was to make recommendations in order to support body growth, maintenance, and development; to prevent nutrient deficiencies1; and, more recently, to avoid excessive consumption of some of these nutrients after recognizing their potential role in the etiology of miscellaneous (mostly chronic) diseases.2-3 In such a context, one of the major contributions of nutrition science during the 20th century has been the concept of the "balanced diet" (Figure 1.1) defined as "an appropriate mixture of food items that provides, at least, the minimum requirements of nutrients and a few other food components needed to support growth and maintain body weight, to prevent the development of deficiency diseases and to reduce the risk of diseases associated with deleterious excesses."1
AMINO ACIDS (essential / nonessential) CARBOHYDRATES (mono- oligo- polysaccharides) FATTY ACIDS (saturated, mono- polyunsaturated) _VITAMINS (hydro- liposoluble)_
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