Antinutritional Factors in Plant Foods: Potential Health Benefits and Adverse Effects
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 4, July 2014, Pages: 284-289
Received: Jun. 3, 2014; Accepted: Jul. 4, 2014; Published: Jul. 20, 2014
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Authors
Habtamu Fekadu Gemede, Center for Food Science and Nutrition, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Food Technology and Process Engineering Department, Wollega University, P.O.Box: 395, Nekemte, Ethiopia
Negussie Ratta, Department of Chemistry, Addis Ababa University, P.O.Box: 1176, Addis Ababa Ethiopia
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Abstract
Anti-nutritional factors are compounds which reduce the nutrient utilization and/or food intake of plants or plant products used as human foods and they play a vital role in determining the use of plants for humans. This paper is aimed to review the updated scientific information regarding the potential health benefits and adverse effects associated with major antinutritional factors found in plant foods. Antinutrients in plant foods are responsible for deleterious effects related to the absorption of nutrients and micronutrients. However, some antinutrients may exert beneficial health effects at low concentrations. For example, phytic acid, lectins, tannins, saponins, amylase inhibitors and protease inhibitors have been shown to reduce the availability of nutrients and cause growth inhibition. However, when used at low levels, phytate, lectins, tannins, amylase inhibitors and saponins have also been shown to reduce the blood glucose and insulin responses to starchy foods and/or the plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, phytates, tannins, saponins, protease inhibitors, goetrogens and oxalates have been related to reduce cancer risks. This implies that anti-nutrients might not always harmful even though lack of nutritive value. Despite of this, the balance between beneficial and hazardous effects of plant bioactives and anti-nutrients rely on their concentration, chemical structure, time of exposure and interaction with other dietary components. Due to this, they can be considered as anti-nutritional factors with negative effects or non-nutritive compounds with positive effects on health.
Keywords
Anti-nutritional factors, Potential Health Benefits, Adverse Health Effects, Plant Foods
To cite this article
Habtamu Fekadu Gemede, Negussie Ratta, Antinutritional Factors in Plant Foods: Potential Health Benefits and Adverse Effects, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 4, 2014, pp. 284-289. doi: 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20140304.18
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