'Functional Foods' Worry Health Experts

'Nutritious' junk food grabs growing US market share
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2009 8:15 PM CDT
Post cereals are seen on display at a grocery store in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Nov. 5, 2007.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Once dubbed junk, certain snacks are enjoying a second life as so-called “functional foods”—candy bars or sugary cereals spruced up with added nutrients, the AP reports. Despite warnings by health experts, functional foods now account for $27 billion in sales, or 5% of the US food market, and experts say that share will grow. But "functional foods are about marketing, not health," says one scientist.

Still, who can resist a candy bar with vitamin B or ice cream with calcium? General Mills Health Fiber One bars, some flavored with caramel or chocolate—and boosted with fiber—topped the $100-million sales mark in 2007. Health advocates worry about Americans growing ever fatter: "The biggest problem we have in the United States is overnutrition—too much calories," one says.