Friday, 18 May 2007

Don't eat that yoghurt, take this drug instead

A team of Dutch scientists have called for "functional foods" to be subjected to checks. Functional foods are foods such as yoghurts and spreads that claim to improve health and well-being.

According to this article, the scientists are concerned that people who are taking drugs for conditions such as high cholesterol are more likely to buy functional foods. They warn that these foods may interfere with drugs designed to target medical conditions.

The researchers reported that:

"Very little is known about exposure, long term or otherwise, and safety under free conditions of use, and whether and how functional foods interfere with drugs designed for the same target."

Hmm... could this not also be said of many drugs? Uncertainty about their long term exposure has not prevented the licensing of some drugs for use by medical professionals. Sure, it's important to monitor the effects of functional foods. But the team of scientists seem not to have considered the possibility that eating such foods may help more people reduce their dependence on those "all-important" drugs.

Now, that would not be good for the pharmaceutical companies would it?

And, Tim Lang, the professor of food policy at City University in London said that functional foods are at best a "technical fix" masking an underlying diet. He could have been referring to prescription drugs.

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