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Superfoods - Are they good or just a marketing fad?

  • Posted by Catherine Tumelty
  • 21 May 2015

Superfood is a term used to describe foods that are nutrient dense (foods that contain antioxidants, Polyphenols, vitamins and minerals) and has been advertised a lot recently by the mass media and fitness gurus or someone selling something.

For me, the term “superfood” is another marketing fad, like trends in fashion and music and rarely supported by hard scientific evidence. It often sends the wrong message about healthy eating and creates confusion. Here is the breakdown;

Generally, superfoods are marketed by three things; their fascinating origin, an impressive nutritional content and preparation method/formula. For example, goji berries—are found in Himalayan Mountains, have high level of antioxidants and are sundried/cold pressed.

Some manufacturers claim that a certain superfood will cause magical effects on your health, weight loss or anything to that effect is trying to scam you. For example, some juice manufacturers claim they have superfoods in their product like goji and/or acai berries but still contain the wrong and unhealthy ingredients like sugar. 

Sugary juices with 1% of superfoods are still unhealthy and fattening. Some fruits like blueberries, bananas, pomegranate, figs and many more may be classified as superfood or superfruit, however excessive consumption of fruit can have negative effects on health. Research shows overloading on fruit increases appetite and that too much of fructose (fruit sugar) can lead to fatty liver disease and weight gain. Fruit in moderation and variety is wiser and will be better for your health.

It is true that some plants are richer sources of a specific nutrient compared to other plants, but those plants usually make up for that by being rich in other nutrients. For example, spinach has more iron and vitamin C than a carrot, but carrot has more vitamin A and B vitamins than spinach.

So don’t be fooled by the marketing or the trend of superfoods or other fads. 

Remember that they are just advertisements and they are probably to trying to get you to buy their product or produce that is really expensive 

and most likely flown halfway around the world. Superfoods aren’t necessarily a bad thing, they may improve your health but not your financial situation.

For the most part don’t buy any of the superfood marketing. Do not discount the benefit of certain foods, but I think all plant, animal and whole foods offer remarkable health benefits. There are lots of known and unknown nutrients in food, focus on food itself. Look at a variety of wholefoods found in nature, organic whenever and wherever possible. Learn about the main nutrients of wholefoods and start enjoying your foods without the stress.

Never forget that real superfoods are the fresh meats, fish, eggs, fruit, vegies and plants which are growing in your backyard or nearby farm. The bottom line is that any wholefood from nature (organic if possible) is simply much more nutrient dense than processed and packaged foods. A healthy diet is not about eating one or two superfoods, it is about a diet centered around whole plant and animal foods because they are all superfoods.



Written By:

Cemil Simsek

Senior Personal Trainer - Five Dock

Mobile: 0413 321 632