British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Functional food science and substrate metabolism

W. H. M. Sarisa1 c1, N. G. L. Aspa2, I. Björcka2, E. Blaaka1, F. Borneta3, F. Brounsa4, K. N. Frayna5, P. Fürsta6, G. Riccardia7, M. Roberfroida8 and M. Vogela9

a1 Nutrition Research Centre, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

a2 Chemical Centre, Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, University of Lund, PO Box 124, S-221 00, Lund, Sweden

a3 Vilvoorde Research and Development Centre, Nutrition and Health Service, Havenstraat 84, B-1800Vilvoorde, Belgium

a4 Novartis Nutrition Research Unit, PO Box 1350, NL-6201 BJ Maastricht, The Netherlands

a5 Oxford Lipid Metabolism Group, Sheikh Rashid Laboratory, Radclfle Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE, UK

a6 Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, PO Box 700 562, Garbenstrasse 30, D- 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

a7 Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Universit´ degli Studi di Napoli-Federico II, Via Sergio Pansini 5, 1-8-131 Napoli, Italy

a8 UCL, Ecole de Pharmacie, Tour Van Helmont, Avenue E. Mounier, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium

a9 Dipl. Biochemiker-Biochemisches Lab, Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt, Zafes, Wormser Strasse II, D-67190 Obrigheim, Pfalz, Germany


The present review addresses the role of food constituents in the aetiology of metabolic conditions and chronic diseases, mostly related to energy metabolism and substrate regulation, such as obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Second, attention is paid to malnutrition, a major cause of mortality and morbidity in developing countries, which may be a cause of concern in Europe because of the increasing number of elderly people in the population. Finally, the role of diet during exercise, a condition of enormous substrate demands, is evaluated. Based on a critical evaluation of the existing knowledge in the literature, implications for future research in relation to functional foods are discussed.


c1 *Dr W. H. M. Saris, fax +31 43 367 0976, email