Health food
The term health food is generally used to describe foods that are considered to be beneficial to health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

, beyond a normal healthy diet
Healthy diet
A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It is important for lowering many chronic health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. A healthy diet involves consuming appropriate amounts of all essential nutrients and an adequate amount of...

 required for human nutrition
Human nutrition
Human nutrition is the provision to humans to obtain the materials necessary to support life. In general, humans can survive for two to eight weeks without food, depending on stored body fat and muscle mass. Survival without water is usually limited to three or four days...

. However, the term is not precisely defined by national regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Health food" is sometimes used as an umbrella term encompassing natural foods, organic foods, whole foods
Whole foods
Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat. Examples of whole foods include unpolished grains, beans, fruits, vegetables...

, and sometimes nutritional supplements. Such products are sold in health food store
Health food store
A health food store is a type of grocery store that primarily sells health food, organic foods, local produce, and often nutritional supplements...

s or in the health/organic sections of supermarkets. "Health food" may also refer to functional food
Functional food
Functional food is a food where a new ingredient has been added to a food and the new product has a new function ....

: foods for which a specific claim of health benefits is made, such as that consumption of the food may prevent disease. Additionally, "health food" is sometimes used in contrast with "junk food
Junk food
Junk food is an informal term applied to some foods that are perceived to have little or no nutritional value ; to products with nutritional value, but which also have ingredients considered unhealthy when regularly eaten; or to those considered unhealthy to consume at all...

", which may be high in calories but has little other nutritional value.

Health claims in food labeling and marketing

In the United States, health-related claims on Nutrition facts labels are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while advertising is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...

. According to the FDA, "Health claims describe a relationship between a food, food component, or dietary supplement ingredient, and reducing risk of a disease or health-related condition".

In general, claims of health benefits for specific foodstuffs have not been evaluated by national regulatory agencies. Additionally, research funded by manufacturers or marketers that may form the basis of such marketing claims has been shown to result in more favorable results than independently funded research. name ="PLoS">

While there is no precise definition for "health food", the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

has warned food manufacturers against labeling foods as being "healthy" when they have a high sugar, salt, or fat content.
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