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Nutrizine is produced by graduate students within the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent that of the Department of Nutritional Sciences or the University of Toronto.

In our last issue, we reflected on “Nutrition and Lifestyle,” where we uncovered how nutrition intersects with three primary lifestyle facets – oral health, microbiome, and sleep hygiene. While we thought of foods that would benefit these three facets, our conversations led to thoughts on the rising cost of food and the unprecedented economy. With these barriers, we were curious to explore what nutritious foods our local lands here in Canada offer. Naturally, these discussions inspired the theme of this current issue – “Local, Functional Foods.”

In this issue, we delve into this topic, exploring the macro and micro implications of consuming local foods. Our writers start by discussing the effects of local food consumption on the environment and our health, in which we include five easy takeaways. They explore Canada’s many local functional foods, including berries, kale, and pulses. The issue then provides a more in-depth review of the benefits of oats, an affordable, local, functional food. Paired with these articles, Chef and graduate student Amy Symington shares delicious recipes featuring many of these local functional foods for you to integrate into your weekly meal plan. Of course, you will also find coverage of the events and activities from the previous semester ranging from the inaugural DNS Research Day, to the annual Edna Park Lecture, and our much-missed Departmental Holiday Party! 

Many thanks to all of our contributors, without whom this edition of Nutrizine would not be possible, and to our readership for their continued support of a graduate student-led publication!

Your Nutrizine Editors, 

Katherine Pullella and Tara Zeitoun



The Nutritional Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (NSGSA) aims to represent the Department of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) graduate students body by supporting and engaging students, both at the university and community level. These are some of the events that happened in the DNS this semester:

Eating local: How local options promote healthy, sustainable and climate-smart diets

By: Sharif Wahdati

Locally produced foods are known to have the potential to promote healthy diets, improve sustainable food production and reduce the environmental footprint of agricultural practices and food supply chains. Researchers and policymakers in Canada and worldwide are investing in more resources to enable improved availability, access and consumption of locally grown functional foods. This article will discuss some of the available evidence and strategies for promoting the consumption of local foods and its sustainable implications.

Food environments play a crucial role in shaping people’s dietary choices, which in turn impacts the health status of a population. In recent years, there has been growing momentum worldwide, especially in developed countries such as Canada, to explore the potential of locally available functional foods in improving health outcomes and understanding the environmental impacts of local food systems. Several studies have shown that increased consumption of functional foods can reduce the risk of health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.1 In Canada, there is increased awareness and preference for sustainably grown local foods, and there is also strong support for policies that can improve access to sustainably grown foods across all income brackets.2 Another strong argument that is being investigated is that local foods have a significantly lower environmental footprint due to the limited transportation needed compared to foods imported from distant countries. Recent evidence indicates that transport accounts for almost 20% of carbon emissions caused by the food system.3 The potential of local foods to improve nutritional outcomes while simultaneously decreasing the carbon footprint of our food systems seems promising. 

Understanding how our dietary practices impact our environment and influence the world’s climate, soil condition, water quality, and biodiversity is important in implementing behaviour change and adopting more sustainable and diverse diets. Our diets can take a dual role as cause and prevention of human and environmental health. A sustainable food system ensures food security and nutrition for all in a way that the social, economic, and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. Existing food systems have resulted in significant challenges affecting the population’s food security and nutritional status, especially in marginalized groups with limited economic capacity and low health and nutrition awareness.4 These challenges include the consumption of highly processed and high-energy food items with low nutritional value, high levels of food loss and waste, more incidents of food safety issues, limited access of small-scale farmers and enterprises to viable markets, and an increased ecological footprint with the lengthening and industrialization of food supply chains.5 To better address these challenges, policy, community and household level changes are essential. Alongside policy efforts, individual and household-level food choices can influence the food systems’ functionality and its impact on people’s health and the environment. 

Changing the current state of food production and consumption patterns requires serious policy discussion and a revised strategy, but individual and household-level practices can also impact the way the food system operates. Now more than ever, people are aware that what we put on our plates has a big impact on the environment. In terms of anthropogenic activities, agriculture is the most significant contributor to global environmental change, as food production contributes to approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.5,6 Eating healthfully and sustainably go hand-in-hand, meaning that sustainable dietary practices can be developed in a way to improve our own health while also benefiting the health of the planet. Sarah Jarvis, PhD student in Dr. Vasanti Malk’s lab is researching the joint health and environmental impacts of foods in Canada and implementation strategies to promote healthful sustainable diets. We reached out to her for some tips on sustainable eating that supports human and planetary health!

Overall, it is important to realize the importance of our daily food choices in relation to our health, as well as the health and sustainability of our environment. Every individual and household, if equipped with the right information and willing to play a role, can potentially impact the sustainability of our health and our environment.

1. Guangchang P, Junbo X, Qingsen C, Zhihe H. How functional foods play critical roles in human health. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2012; 1(1):26-60.
2. Kramer D, Ferguson R, Reynolds J. Sustainable Consumption for All : Improving the accessibility of sustainably grown foods in Canada. A Food Secure Canada Research Report. 2019.
3. Li, M., Jia, N., Lenzen, M. et al. Global food-miles account for nearly 20% of total food-systems emissions. Nat Food. 2022; 3:445–453.
4. UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Sustainable food systems: Concept and framework. 2018.
5. Ingram, J. A food systems approach to researching food security and its interactions with global environmental change. Food Sec. 2011; 3: 417–431.
6. Vermeulen SJ, Campbell BM, Ingram JS. Climate change and food systems. Annual review of environment and resources. 2012 Nov 21;37:195-222.

Sharif Wahdati is a 1st year PhD student in the lab of Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta.

Canadian seeds of opportunity – the impact of buying local

By: Nicole Da Silva

Healthy eating trends continue to gain interest among Canadians. However, with food prices continuing to rise, how can consumers maintain their healthy eating goals while worrying about affordability? Eating more locally grown functional foods in Canada may present one potential approach for enabling a more affordable and nutritious diet for Canadians. This article will explore some of the functional foods grown in Canada and the immense benefits of eating locally.

Greater awareness of nutrition among the public has provoked a large increase in healthy eating patterns. More Canadians are looking to make healthier food choices, to not only eat better but to manage and prevent common chronic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are increasing among the Canadian population. Yet, consumers are faced with a roadblock. Food price inflation at grocery stores challenges maintaining healthy eating patterns as high-quality, nutrient-dense foods are often more costly than their less nutritious counterparts. While Canada’s Food Price report predicted a 5-7% rise in 2022 food prices, a 10.3% food price inflation was realized as of September 2022.1 Additionally, the 2023 report estimates a $1,065 increase in annual grocery fees for a family of four, compared to 2022 average grocery expenses.1 Food affordability is an alarming concern as one in five Canadians consumes less than they should in response to inflation costs related to house, energy, gas, and food.2

As food continues to get expensive, how can we pivot to maintaining the public’s healthy eating motives in an affordable and budget-friendly way? One possible approach could be encouraging and incorporating more locally grown, functional foods into our everyday diet.

Functional foods can be characterized as whole, fortified, or enriched foods that offer health benefits beyond basic macronutrient and micronutrient composition when consumed regularly in appropriate quantities.3 While the market has expanded on modifying foods with bioactive components, such as probiotic additions in yogurts, and omega-3 fatty acid incorporations in various foods, many natural foods also serve as nutrient-rich functional foods that enhance health beyond solely adequate nutrition. As mentioned earlier in this issue, although Canada does not formally identify any particular foods to be functional, Health Canada allows foods to display functional claims related to the specific bioactive component of the food promoting health benefits.4 Nonetheless, many fresh foods are also naturally abundant in beneficial bioactives, and several can grow locally in Canada.

Health Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reported numerous bioactive ingredient contributions from Canadian-grown and processed crops, such as omega-3 fatty acids and other essential fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, and high-quality protein bioactive peptides.5 Fruits and vegetables are promoted as nutrient-rich diet incorporations and are known to carry many specific bioactive compounds that aid in disease prevention and management. For instance, blueberries are rich in polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, pyruvic acid and anthocyanins, which are known to induce anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, anti-diabetic, anti-cardiovascular disease, immune enhancement, respiratory health improvement, and anti-cognitive decline health properties.6 The polyphenols in blueberries inhibit fat cell production and cell proliferation, which is further suggested by the significantly lower levels of liver and abdomen adipose tissue found with increased blueberry consumption amongst obese mouse models.7,8 Another functional ingredient in blueberries is anthocyanins, known to improve heart health, vision, and cancer prevention, through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as hyperlipidemia and hypertension reductions.6 Blueberries are commonly grown in Canada and account for nearly 25% of the Canadian agriculture farm gate value, with the majority of their production in the province of British Columbia.9 

Another berry commonly grown in Canada, and gaining recent traction, are elderberries. Most elderberries consumed in Canada are imported from the United States. Yet, various regions in Canada have optimal crop conditions for their growth during ideal harvest periods. For instance, an elderberry farm, Elderberry Grove, in British Columbia, reported a surge in product sales during and after the 2020 pandemic, suggesting growing consumer interest.10 While the US is currently leading elderberry production growth, farms like Elderberry Grove demonstrate the potential to outsource our production from Canada’s very own rich soil. Elderberries are associated with many therapeutic properties due to their high antioxidant concentrations, such as hypoglycemic, anti-depressant, immune enhancing, and anti-bacterial properties.11 Like blueberries, the primary bioactive components found are polyphenols and anthocyanins; however, due to carrying plant metabolites that may be natural plant toxins, consuming these berries raw and unripe is uncommon and results in potential ill feelings following ingestion.12 However, ripe and cooked berries, or more commonly the incorporation of elderberries in beverages, such as juices or teas, and other products, such as jams, are more regularly consumed. Recent research by Vujanović et al. (2020) revealed elderberry juice effectively prevented cell damage by neutralizing nitric oxide free radicals and still carried significant anthocyanin concentrations amid beverage processing.12 It is important to note that free radicals can promote cell and/or tissue damage and are associated as an etiology factor to many chronic diseases.13 In addition, strawberries, apples, and tomatoes are commonly consumed foods that also locally grow in Canada and are found to be abundant in phytochemicals associated with disease risk reductions for cardiovascular disease and T2D. Additionally, these foods are often found to be more affordable, especially when in season, compared to elderberries which are not as commonly consumed and consequently more expensive currently with low consumer demand.

Kale is an emerging product in Canada, where its most recent available farm gate value was reported at $5.5 million as of 2018.14 Scientific evidence supports the necessary consumption of vegetables for an overall healthy diet, yet kale has been regarded as the superior cruciferous vegetable in recent healthy eating trends. This nutrient-dense vegetable is also more affordable than other cruciferous vegetables, such as lettuce, which are more expensive and less nutritious. Kale carries higher levels of vitamins, folic acid, fatty acids, and calcium, as well as more bioavailable forms of calcium compared to other vegetables, regarding it as a “super” food in the eyes of Canadians. 15 The higher levels of vitamins A, C, and K promote improved eye health, immune enhancement, blood clotting and bone-building processes. In addition, mice models have demonstrated reduced levels of inflammation, along with some beneficial microbiota modulations with the consumption of kale.16 Aside from kale, other plant-based foods such as flaxseed, red lentils, and chia seeds are well concentrated in Canadian agriculture. Flaxseeds serve as a rich dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, known to promote improved cardiovascular health through various mechanisms, including cholesterol reductions and eliciting anti-inflammatory and glycemia-regulating properties.17 In addition, the high fibre content and low glycemic index found in flaxseeds, red lentils, and chia seeds may improve blood glucose control and appetite regulation when regularly incorporated into the everyday diet.18

High-quality protein sources, such as salmon, pulses, soy, and dairy products, are also crucial diet incorporations which can be sourced from the Canadian aqua- and agriculture market. Although salmon presents as a high-quality protein source rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, shown to improve cardiac health through increased HDL contents and reductions in triglyceride and LDL content, its budget-friendly incorporation into weekly diets is debatable.19 The spike in salmon prices is due to various factors, such as the rising temperature waters reducing salmon availability and the different salmon farming methods. As salmon consumption is encouraged in Canada’s Food Guide for healthy eating pattern adoptions, government efforts should develop production plans prioritizing sustainability methods and affordability for Canadians.

Eating locally may impact grocery store price reductions if the consumer demand for these Canadian-sourced products increases. A rise in consumer demand for locally grown products may create a larger market for these foods than the other internationally sourced products. High transportation and distribution fees associated with international imports will be reduced if these products are nationally sourced, and thus, this may be one way we see an overall price reduction. However, we must acknowledge that locally grown products supported and showcased in small-scale operations, like farmers’ markets, can be expensive due to their current small demand niche and limited availability. Nonetheless, if government food distribution efforts are focused on supplying locally grown food, aside from the potential food price reductions, improved sustainability, local economy boost, and greater availability of fresh and nutritious food to Canadians are just a few of the additional benefits to sourcing some of these functional foods in house.

1. Charlebois DS et al. Canada’s Food Price Report – 13th Edition. Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, University of Saskatchewan, University of British Columbia. 2023.
2. Food Banks of Canada. New Food Banks Canada Research Shows 7 Million Canadians Report Going Hungry [Internet]. 2022 June 6.
3. Hasler CM, Brown AC, American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: functional foods. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Apr;109(4):735–46.
4. Health Canada. Nutraceuticals/Functional Foods and Health Claims On Foods. 1998.
5. Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Canadian Functional Foods and Natural Health Products. 2014.
6. Ma L, Sun Z, Zeng Y, Luo M, Yang J. Molecular Mechanism and Health Role of Functional Ingredients in Blueberry for Chronic Disease in Human Beings. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Sep 16;19(9):2785.
7. Moghe SS, Juma S, Imrhan V, Vijayagopal P. Effect of blueberry polyphenols on 3T3-F442A preadipocyte differentiation. J Med Food. 2012 May;15(5):448–52.
8. Vendrame S, Daugherty A, Kristo AS, Klimis-Zacas D. Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)-enriched diet improves dyslipidaemia and modulates the expression of genes related to lipid metabolism in obese Zucker rats. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 28;111(2):194–200.
9. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Canada: High Bush Blueberry Production in Canada. 2017 Dec 29.
10. Antonacci JP. Seeds of Opportunity: Elderberries. Fruit & Vegetable Magazine. 2022 April 1.
11. Młynarczyk K, Walkowiak-Tomczak D, Łysiak GP. Bioactive properties of Sambucus nigra L. as a functional ingredient for food and pharmaceutical industry. J Funct Foods. 2018 Jan;40:377–90.
12. Vujanović M, Majkić T, Zengin G, Beara I, Tomović V, Šojić B, et al. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) juice as a novel functional product rich in health-promoting compounds. RSC Adv. 10(73):44805–14.
13. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(8):118–26.
14. Statistics Canada. Fruit and vegetable production, 2018. Government of Canada – The Daily. 2019 Feb 22.
15. Šamec D, Urlić B, Salopek-Sondi B. Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) as a superfood: Review of the scientific evidence behind the statement. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(15):2411-2422.
16. Shahinozzaman M, Raychaudhuri S, Fan S, Obanda DN. Kale Attenuates Inflammation and Modulates Gut Microbial Composition and Function in C57BL/6J Mice with Diet-Induced Obesity. Microorganisms. 2021 Jan 24;9(2):238.
17. Krupa K, Fritz K, Parmar M. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 2022 Sep 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.
18. Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 21;12(10):3209.
19. Lara JJ, Economou M, Wallace AM, Rumley A, Lowe G, Slater C, et al. Benefits of salmon eating on traditional and novel vascular risk factors in young, non-obese healthy subjects. Atherosclerosis. 2007 Jul;193(1):213–21.

Nicole Da Silva is a 3rd year MSc student in the lab of Dr. Harvey G. Anderson.

An Oat-standing functional food

By: Selina Quibrantar

The old-fashioned oat has sparked some newfound interest among consumers with Google searches for ‘rolled oats’ doubling in 2021, trending viral baked oatmeal recipes on social media and an expected rise in the global oats market. While the benefits of eating oats have been long recognized after more than 500 years of cultivation, we revisit this timeless classic and delve into why we consider it an outstanding functional food, explain reasons behind rising oat prices and some precautions before digging into a “healthy” bowl of oats.

What are functional foods?

The term functional food is a concept that refers to foods that have physiologically active properties that provide health benefits outside the basic function of supplying nutrients, including health-promoting or disease-preventing functions.1 These foods contain functional ingredients, also known as “bioactives” or “nutraceutical ingredients” which are natural constituents of foods that are non-nutrient and found to have protective effects against non-communicable diseases.2 There is no universal definition of functional foods; thus, what this term means in other contexts may vary. For example, some classify functional foods as any processed foods that provide health benefits by reducing the risk of diseases. In addition, some distinguish functional foods as any food that is fortified, enriched, or enhanced; these foods provide health benefits beyond providing essential nutrients through these improved nutritional compositions.3 Nevertheless, a hallmark characteristic of functional foods that remains consistent across definitions is their ability to prevent disease in conjunction with their nutritional and health-promoting benefits.3 

The concept of functional foods was first conceived in Japan in the early 1980s.3 Since then, the term has rapidly expanded to different parts of the world; however, Japan is currently the only country that formally recognizes functional foods and has a specific regulatory approval process.3 This is contrary to other parts of the world, where the regulation of functional foods has not been well established. For example, the United States Food and Drugs Administration does not provide a legal definition of functional foods or recognize them as a distinct food category. Regardless, organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, the International Food Information Council and the Institute of Food Technologists have developed working definitions for functional foods.3 In addition, Canada has yet to formally recognize functional foods. However, there are some foods that Health Canada has allowed nutrient claims, such as function claims and disease risk reduction claims on food labels, which provides consumers information about the helpful effects of a certain food consumed within a healthy diet on a person’s health. This is similar to the European Union, where although they do not formally regulate functional foods, nutrition and health claims were regulated in 2007.4 While the current recognition of functional foods is limited to Japan, literature suggests the value of recognizing and legislating functional foods to support a healthy diet. 

 An increasing number of Canadians are becoming more mindful of the impact of diet on health, hence the increased awareness and demand for nutritious functional foods. According to a 2021 food consumer survey, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they’ve grown more interested in how their diets affect their overall health and immunity. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Dalhousie University found that 48% of Canadians eat fruits and vegetables to reduce cancer risks. These trends demonstrate the potential for introducing the concept of functional foods to Canadian consumers to promote healthy food options and encourage Canadians to make informed decisions about what goes on their plates. 

There are a variety of functional ingredients found in different food sources. These include: fibre (soluble and insoluble) phytochemicals, which reduce total and LDL cholesterol which is commonly found in oats; probiotics found in fermented dairy products to support intestinal tract health and boost immunity; and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) found in lamb, turkey, and beef reported to reduce breast cancer, atherosclerosis, and type-2 diabetes.1 Among these functional foods, oats, that farmers have cultivated for at least 500 years, have recently sparked some newfound interest among consumers. Google searches for ‘rolled oats’ doubled in 2021 compared to the previous four years, various food bloggers have posted trending viral baked oatmeal recipes on social media, and the global oats market is projected to rise from USD 5.84 billion (2021) to USD 8.86 Billion by 2030.

Let’s talk about oat beta-glucan!

The benefits of eating oats have been long recognized. Oats contain numerous components, such as soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, unsaturated fatty acids, starch, and proteins, that are proposed to exert multiple health benefits. There is a multitude of evidence linking the consumption of oat products with a reduction in serum LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease.2,5

Beta-glucan, the primary type of soluble fibre in oats, is a plant polysaccharide that is difficult to digest and absorb in the small intestine, slowing digestion, increasing satiety, and suppressing  appetite.6 The cholesterol-lowering effect of oats has been found to increase the viscosity of gut contents, which enhances the excretion of bile acids and cholesterol in the feces.5 Beta-glucan can bind with cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine and transport them through the digestive tract and, eventually, out of the body.7The large body of evidence demonstrating the advantageous role of oat beta-glucans in lowering cholesterol has led Health Canada to conclude that there is a linkage between the consumption of beta-glucan oat fibre to a reduction of blood cholesterol, and that adults with normal or mildly elevated blood cholesterol concentrations could benefit from increased oat intake. 

Other research has demonstrated that the beta-glucan fibre in oats can help prevent the rise in blood sugar and insulin after consuming a meal8 and may improve gut health through the breakdown and fermentation of the fibre by intestinal bacteria.9 In a meta-analysis of 14 controlled trials and two observational studies, it was found that people who consumed oats had significantly reduced fasting blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c, compared with the control group, particularly in those with a high baseline A1c. It also significantly reduced blood sugar.8  

The rise of the oat

Since late 2021, food prices have drastically risen, with reports of food prices rising at its fastest pace in September 2022 since 1981.10 There are various elements that explain the increase in food prices, such as supply chain disruptions, poor weather conditions in growing regions, increased wages and consumer purchasing patterns. Among these elements, weather is the most important factor for sustaining food supply.10 Unprecedented weather conditions have grown in severity and frequency over the last couple of years, impacting the production and supply of certain food products. In 2021, many prairie provinces experienced severe heat waves and droughts that impacted grain crops such as oats. Statistics Canada highlights price increases in the supply chain of wheat-based products in Canada (Figure 1), outlining the steps that move products from producers to consumers. Figure 1 explains why Canadians paid more for bread, pasta, and cereal at the grocery store in March 2022. In addition, oats, a previously affordable food item, have increased in value due to their growing frenzy of being a food item with multiple facets and nutritional benefits. This phenomenon is not isolated to oats but is widespread across the food supply due to inflation, which according to Canada’s Food Price Report, is expected to increase grocery expenses by $1,065 this year. Moreover, while oatmeal or rolled oats are used for human consumption, a larger proportion is used for livestock feed. Thus, the impact droughts had on grain products, such as oats, ensued a sudden rise in demand for animal feed due to reduced grain outputs, making it more expensive to rear livestock and impacting their prices.10

Figure 1: The Rise in Prices for Wheat-Based Food Products in Canada from Statistics Canada11


For many years, oats have been praised for their multiple health benefits  beyond nutrition, classifying them as an important functional food. However, despite its history of being a valuable food item, there are some important things to consider. While opting for a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast may seem like the ‘healthy’ option for the most part, not all bowls of oatmeal are created equal. While one cup of raw, plain oats contains a very low amount of sugar (approximately 0.8g), with only 1% coming from sucrose, other oats, such as flavoured oatmeal, contain added sugars. For example, Quaker’s Instant Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal contains 12g of added sugars, and McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal contains 31g of sugar. Today, many oat-based products are highly processed, contain artificial flavours and have high amounts of refined sugars; thus, it is important to be mindful of the extra ingredients in your bowl of oats. The concept of functional foods continues to evolve, and while we’ve highlighted knowledge on the functional role of oatmeal in health, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet is the optimal way to maintain good health and reduce disease risk. Although the term ‘functional food’ emerged in the 1980s, humans observed the connection between diet and health many centuries before that; thus, this is not a new concept. What is new is the emerging research further delineating the relationship between diet and health, shaping the expansion and marketing of a growing spectrum of products called “functional foods.” In closing, as Hippocrates said thousands of years ago to acknowledge the functional role of food in healing: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

1. Kaur S, Das M. Functional foods: An overview. Food Science and Biotechnology. 2011 Aug;20(4):861-75.
2. Tiwari U, Cummins E. Meta-analysis of the effect of β-glucan intake on blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Nutrition. 2011 Oct 1;27(10):1008-16.
3. Hasler C. M. (2002). Functional foods: benefits, concerns and challenges-a position paper from the american council on science and health. The Journal of nutrition, 132(12), 3772–3781.
4. Bryngelsson, S., & Asp, N. G. (2007). The new EU regulation on nutrition and health claims: comments related to experiences from the Swedish Code of Practice. Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition, 51(1), 41–43.
5. Whitehead A, Beck EJ, Tosh S, Wolever TM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2014 Dec 1;100(6):1413-21.
6. Rasane P, Jha A, Sabikhi L, Kumar A, Unnikrishnan VS. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of food science and technology. 2015 Feb;52(2):662-75.
7. Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr;5(4):1417-35.
8. Hou Q, Li Y, Li L, Cheng G, Sun X, Li S, Tian H. The metabolic effects of oats intake in patients with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2015 Dec;7(12):10369-87.
9. Li X, Cai X, Ma X, Jing L, Gu J, Bao L, Li J, Xu M, Zhang Z, Li Y. Short-and long-term effects of wholegrain oat intake on weight management and glucolipid metabolism in overweight type-2 diabetics: a randomized control trial. Nutrients. 2016 Sep 7;8(9):549.
10. Fradella, A. Behind the Numbers: What’s Causing Growth in Food Prices. Statistics Canada. 2022 Nov 16.
11. Statistics Canada. The rise in prices for wheat-based food products. Infographic. 2022 Nov 16.

Selina Quibrantar is a 2nd year MSc student in the lab of Dr. Vasanti Malik.