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Functional food science and behaviour and psychological functions

  • F. Bellisle (a1), J. E. Blundell (a2), L. Dye (a2), M. Fantino (a3), E. Fern (a4), R. J. Fletcher (a5), J. Lambed (a6), M. Roberfroid (a7), S. Specter (a1), J. Westenhöfer (a8) and M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga (a9)...

The impact of ingesting various foods on psychological and behavioural functions is a topic of both interest and concern to the general public. In this article, the scientific literature concerning demonstrated cause-and-effect relationships is reviewed, beginning with methodological considerations specific to the quantification of particular behaviours and psychological events. The essential function of food is to satisfy hunger and the need for essential nutrients. The contributions of macronutrients to appetite and satiety are described, as well as their impact on metabolism and energy balance. Functional properties of macronutrient substitutes (high intensity sweeteners, fat replacers) and flavour enhancers are examined in relation to their contribution to hunger, satiety, and energy balance. The effects of foods and individual nutrients on the performance of diverse psychomotor tasks are studied with consideration given to the various validated quantitative tools used to assess behaviour. The effects of food components on activation, sedation, and affective states such as dysphoria are also reviewed, with special attention given to brain function and neuroactive substances such as serotonin and the endorphins. The case of hyperactivity in children is given special emphasis with reference to the potential influence of sugar and food additives. Safety issues related to food constituents and additives are discussed. Finally, a set of criteria is proposed for the evaluation and elaboration of studies in the behavioural and psychological fields, along with suggestions for future research.

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*Corresponding author: Dr F. Bellisle, fax +33 1 40 46 82 48, email
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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