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Nutraceuticals: Future Foods or Immanent?

by Charles Faulkner(more info)

listed in nutraceuticals, originally published in issue 184 - July 2011

Over the last 20 years Nutraceuticals, which are defined as having a disease preventing and/or health promoting benefit in addition to their nutritional value, have gone from relatively unknown research breakthroughs, wrapped in legislative restrictions and controversy, to becoming a regular part of the weekly shopping basket of the ever increasingly health conscious consumer.


Prior to the introduction of these functional foods, consumption was enough to satisfy people's hunger. It took some time for the education of nutrition, and its adverse effects for there to be awareness as to what the scientific community was saying about vitamins, essential fatty acids and their implications on overall health and life. Authorities informed the public through labelling and media campaigns about the risks of contamination and avoidance of dangerous foods, and also gave recommendations on a; daily, weekly intake. It almost became fashionable to eat healthily, exercise and take supplements; however this was shrouded by the ignorance of consuming harmful fat replacers, low calorie drinks, and foods fuelled with refined flour, and an endless range of products containing processed sugar and additives.

General health remained chronic and an indicator of this could be found in the number of days lost in absenteeism across all industries.  This was attributed to a number of social, mental and environmental issues all put to task, and came to a head in the early 1990s when the after effects of world recession had absorbed the underlying dietary dilemmas.

It was approximately around this time that there emerged a new trend amongst researchers, that food and drink was to cross with pharmaceuticals and provide healing benefits in addition to nutritional value. This was naturally greeted with some scepticism and was limited, and restricted due to red tape, legislation and a minimum of media coverage.

Here we had the potential of a major advance, in promotion of health and prevention of disease which could fundamentally change the outlook and motivating factors behind how we consume food and drink. Things changed slowly: momentum was building through research,  and through a combination of the relaxing of legislation and acceptance of the once thought outrageous claims that eating certain types of food will improve health, has led to exponential growth in this industry in a short space of time. The claims have been well documented and are backed by the blue chip companies who have entered this arena.

We have seen energy boosters, immune stimulants, claims of protection against cardiovascular disease to natural sweeteners, weight management solutions for Globesity; research continues in this endless pursuit of improved health, and to extend longevity of life as age expectancy increases beyond any reasonable expectations of 30 years ago.

Today it is widely accepted the importance of diet, but what of the future? With advances in other areas, there is likely to be a combination of diet and other factors mixing to create yet further advances into the functionality of food and drink. There is wellness, cosmetics, novel products, which all have standalone claims and qualities that can seek to compete in this fast moving circus of product development and a share of the billion dollar markets.

However I see the change coming from a completely different area; there has been a corresponding altering of human consciousness since the mid 1980s, where suddenly integrity and self-awareness changed. This was reflected with the end of the cold war, demise of the Berlin wall, liberation of the eastern bloc countries and political correctness which has fundamentally changed attitudes of individuals.

With this came the dietary changes which to some extent were trendy and in season, but masked by the contamination of social problems which plague most people of some form of addictive behaviour whether it be psychologically or as a physical manifestation. The term "hospitals, jails and institutions are full of them" accurately reflects this unfortunate state of modern man.

It is timely for us to recognize that the future is a retreating mirage, and that we may be reminded by Aristotle's logic that the goal of action is - knowing and being, rather than seeking and becoming.

There has been a lot documented about the possible difficult times ahead, and we are currently seeing worldwide unrest, economic crisis and acts of unpredictability which leads us into anxiety, fear, greyness and duality. Out of this turmoil the next stage of evolution is subtly occurring as man enters into the homo spirits phase.

So harmful alternatives to sugar, fat replacers, the myth behind wholegrain being healthy, expensive diet fads and consultations etc., will have at last run their course.

This will be a time when food from a plant, rather than made on a plant will be preferred, as raw food retains more nutrition and balanced with appropriate levels of water hydration, simplicity will be the way forward.

It has been proven that uncooked food raises levels of consciousness and this is the key determining factor of human behaviour, action, choices and subsequent destination and quality of life.

There will of course be the normal deliberations to this of: research, trials, legislation, packaging, politicking and media hype to sway the innocent consumer one way and then another. The unfolding of this and how and what it will all look like remains a mystery, however I am sure it will not have the same resistance and time that Nutraceuticals took in its early years of infancy.

So here's to a new age of Nutra spiritus.

1. Immanent, Spiritual context, the world's Religion's differ in the emphasis on whether God is Transcendent (out there) or Immanent (in here). I , Reality and Subjectivity by Dr David Hawkins, MD PhD.  Page 86, Veritus Publishing, ISBN- 09715007-0-3
2. Globesity, The World Health Organization has dubbed it Globesity, as the Phenomenon of weight problem being so widespread. Nutraceuticals Now, Issue Winter: 12. 2009.
3. Homo Spiritus. Refers to awakened man, who has bridged the evolutionary leap from physical to spiritual. I, Reality and Subjectivity by Dr David Hawkins MD Phd: page 419.
4. Aristotle's logic, The book on the Taboo against knowing who you are, by Alan Watts, page 137.Vinatge books, part of Random house, ISBN 0-679-72300-5.
5. Nutraspiritus, A new term to describe the advancement of food and drink, which are defined as having a positive effect on consciousness in addition to their nutritional value.


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About Charles Faulkner

Charles Faulkner is editor of Nutraceuticals Now – a magazine that provides manufacturers of food and drink with the latest developments in ingredients which promote health and/or prevent disease in addition to their nutritional value. He may be contacted via

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