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Functional foods, also known as “nutraceuticals” or “designer foods” are foods containing supplements that are intended to improve health, and they are slowly emerging on supermarket shelves worldwide. Carbohydrates play an essential role in human biology and disease development and are a relatively untapped source of bioactive compounds for use as functional foods or pharmaceuticals. In contrast, bioactive peptides or “cryptides” have experienced an explosion of scientific research in recent decades and an impressive array of health attributes have been assigned to peptides generated from food protein sources including dairy, marine, plants and seeds. Bioactive peptides or “cryptides” are sequences of approximately 2–20 amino acids in length that impart a positive health effect to the consumer which goes above and beyond basic human nutrition. They must be bioavailable and capable of exerting this health effect at their target site in the gut, bloodstream or elsewhere. A number of positive health benefits are associated with bioactive peptides including antihypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, immune-modulatory, relaxing and satiety inducing effects.

Bioactive peptides and carbohydrates are sourced from a myriad of plant, animal and insects and have huge potential for use as food ingredients and pharmaceuticals. However, downstream processing bottlenecks hinder the potential use of these natural bioactive compounds and add cost to production processes.

This book entitled “Functional Food Carbohydrates” discusses the health benefits and bioactivities associated with peptides and carbohydrates of natural origin and downstream processing methodologies and novel processes which may be used to overcome these. This book also focuses on the usage and application of plant- and animal-based food products with significant functional properties and health benefits as well as their development into processed food.

This book serves as valuable assistance to students, researchers and engineers presenting insights into function food carbohydrates.