People have always aspired to enhance the quality of food without compromising on enjoyment. Food has more than one function, but the nutritional value is the most critical aspect.
These days there is a lot of talk about novel foods and their contribution to the way we eat. The term “novel food” might have a neutral tone, but most of what is considered novel foods are meant to benefit human health.
In this article, we will talk about novel foods and their nutritive value, as well as other matters pertaining to this relatively new food category.
What Are Novel Foods Exactly?
You might have a general idea of what the term “novel foods” represents, but defining it accurately is imperative. Think about all the things people didn’t eat less than 30 years ago.
The availability and versatility of food has drastically changed over the years; therefore, regulation was essential. Consequently, all foods or even ingredients that humans did not widely use to any significant degree before May 1997 are considered novel foods.
Every food introduced to the EU market after the date in question requires EFSA and European Commission approval. Furthermore, every time a novel food has been regulated and approved, it is added to the Novel Food Catalogue.
This includes all foods that have been produced using algae or fungi, foreign plants, and even cell tissue from animals. However, the definition of novel foods extends to any type of food that hasn’t been commonly consumed before 1997.
Are Novel Foods Safe?
One of the first questions you might have about the novel foods is whether they are safe for consumption. That’s understandable as human beings are often reluctant to try new things.
The entire purpose of regulating this type of food is to guarantee their safety. Novel foods must be safe for consumption, first and foremost.
Nutritive Value of Food: How Does It Work?
Before we talk about novel foods and their nutritive value, let’s explain what nutritive value means. Essentially, it’s a part of food quality and the ratio of essential nutrients and macronutrients. Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are essential nutrients or macronutrients, and micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.
Think of how many times you’ve read a label that says “protein-enriched” or “low-carb” or even “Vitamin B12 fortified.” Whenever you see something like that, you’re most likely looking at a product that falls into the category of novel foods.
But how much does the nutritional value of these products change? That depends, and it’s often difficult to assess. A great example that proves the complexity is GMO. Every genetically modified food falls into the category of novel foods.
As you are probably aware, GMO has a controversial reputation. However, genetic modification does more than potentially enhance the flavour of the food and help crops survive stressful conditions. It increases the nutritional value of foods.
The perfect example is golden rice which has been developed to be rich in beta carotene. The goal was to help with blindness prevention in regions where the local diet was deficient in Vitamin A.
The final point is that while novel foods can be rich in nutritional value, it’s not by default nor mandatory.
What About CBD Products?
One of the newest additions to the Novel Foods Catalogue is CBD. Despite CBD products dominating the global market for years, the regulation has only recently caught up. CBD products were officially considered novel foods as of January 2021.
However, the road to compliance is not a simple one, and the application process is demanding. This leads us to question the nutritional value of CBD. This precious chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant contains proteins, essential fatty acids, fibre, molecules such as flavonoids and terpenes.
Vitamins found in CBD oil include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and a B-complex. Minerals present in CBD isolates are iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Are Novel Foods Good for You?
If you make an omelette with eggs containing increased lutein levels, it’s likely your egg will be slightly healthier than a regular egg.
On the other hand, you might find that GMO foods will never be a superior choice to eating organic fruits and vegetables.
In the case of CBD, you’re unlikely to see benefits to your well-being unless the brand you use complies with the regulation. While novel foods and their nutritive value vary, they’re safe for consumption and, more often than not, good for you.