Global Advanced Research Journal of Food Science and Technology (GARJFST) ISSN: 2315-5098 June 2014 Vol. 3(4), pp 103-117.

Copyright © 2014 Global Advanced Research Journals   

 

Review

Antinutritional Factors in Plant Foods: Potential Health Benefits and Adverse Effects 

Habtamu Fekadu Gemede1,2 and Negussie Ratta3 

1Center for Food Science and Nutrition, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2Food Technology and Process Engineering Department, Wollega University, P.O.Box: 395, Nekemte, Ethiopia.

3Department of Chemistry, Addis Ababa University, P.O.Box: 1176, Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Corresponding Author's E-mails: fekadu_habtamu@yahoo.com or  simbokom@gmail.com 

Accepted 14 June 2014


 

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 (Tannins,  Phytates, Oxalates, Saponins, Lectins, Alkaloids, Protein inhibitors, Amylase inhibitors, Cynogenic Glycosides, Chlorogenic Acids, Toxic Amino Acids, Anti-Vitamins and Goitrogens) 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 reduced 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, Human Foods, Plants

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