Document Detail

Food synergy: an operational concept for understanding nutrition.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19279083     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Research and practice in nutrition relate to food and its constituents, often as supplements. In food, however, the biological constituents are coordinated. We propose that "thinking food first"' results in more effective nutrition research and policy. The concept of food synergy provides the necessary theoretical underpinning. The evidence for health benefit appears stronger when put together in a synergistic dietary pattern than for individual foods or food constituents. A review of dietary supplementation suggests that although supplements may be beneficial in states of insufficiency, the safe middle ground for consumption likely is food. Also, food provides a buffer during absorption. Constituents delivered by foods taken directly from their biological environment may have different effects from those formulated through technologic processing, but either way health benefits are likely to be determined by the total diet. The concept of food synergy is based on the proposition that the interrelations between constituents in foods are significant. This significance is dependent on the balance between constituents within the food, how well the constituents survive digestion, and the extent to which they appear biologically active at the cellular level. Many examples are provided of superior effects of whole foods over their isolated constituents. The food synergy concept supports the idea of dietary variety and of selecting nutrient-rich foods. The more we understand about our own biology and that of plants and animals, the better we will be able to discern the combinations of foods, rather than supplements, which best promote health.
David R Jacobs; Myron D Gross; Linda C Tapsell
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2009-03-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of clinical nutrition     Volume:  89     ISSN:  1938-3207     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Clin. Nutr.     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-21     Completed Date:  2009-05-14     Revised Date:  2013-06-02    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376027     Medline TA:  Am J Clin Nutr     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1543S-1548S     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
Cholesterol / blood
Dietary Fats / adverse effects
Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
Digestion / physiology
Food, Fortified
Health Policy
Hypercholesterolemia / etiology
Immunity, Innate
Infant Food
Nutritional Sciences*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Dietary Fats; 57-88-5/Cholesterol

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