The potential benefits, potential harms, and widespread consumer use of foods with bioactive components (sometimes called 'functional foods') are all of great public health interest. While food has long been known to influence human health, recent scientific advances and innovations in product development have aided the development of designer foods with increased concentrations of bioactive food components (BFCs). We propose a multidisciplinary state-of-the-art conference on BFCs, emphasizing conceptual and methodological challenges, as well as the issues relating to social communication, ethical, and regulatory issues. To this end, we propose assembling a multidisciplinary group of investigators to (Aim 1) provide participants a thorough state-of-the-science update and critical discussion regarding: (a) The conceptual and methodologic issues involved in studying bioactive food components;(b) The similarities in the underlying issues involved in studying putatively positive and negative effects of BFCs;(c) Evidence for and postulated mechanisms of selected BFCs with respect to their putative effects on cancer, and obesity;and (d) Ethical and social communication issues involved in studying and presenting findings on BFCs to the scientific community, regulatory bodies, and the general public;
(Aim 2) Promote new interdisciplinary and translational research in this area by facilitating interactions among scholars from different disciplines ranging from bench biologists to clinicians, epidemiologists, and regulators;
(Aim 3) Make the complete proceedings freely available to the worldwide community by posting videos of the conference on our website in order to advance the science and study of BFCs.
Everyone eats and we all want the most from our food. Beyond energy, foods can contain substances, bioactive food components (BFC), which can have either helpful or harmful effects on the body. This conference on BFCs will discuss conceptual, methodologic, and social challenges in dealing with BFCs to ensure consumer access to the best and safest food supply possible.