We are regularly asked about our opinion on ‘super-foods’ – so here it is:
🍇‘Super-food’ is a marketing term. You will have heard it used to describe foods such as acai berries, kale, quinoa, avocado, Brussels sprouts etc
🍉 The way the term ‘super-food’ is used in the media often gives the impression that these foods have magical powers that will transform your health overnight ( not the case!)
For example: (these are all real claims!)
❌ Eating apples will cure lung cancer
❌ Eating olives will fight heart disease.
🍏 🔬What do dietitians think about super-foods?🍏 🔬
🔬A dietitian would not use the term super-food when giving dietary advice.
🔬Dietitians are trained to only advise patients on dietary changes that have been proven to be beneficial for health through rigorous scientific testing. ‘Super-food’ is a vague term, and the health claims associated with it are rarely backed by evidence and are often false.
🇪🇺In 2007 the EU banned the use of the word ‘Super-food’ on food packaging. For any health claim to be used to sell a food it must have been proven by rigorous scientific testing.🇪🇺
😇The term super food can encourage the ‘health halo effect’ – when people feel motivated to purchase a product because its perceived to be healthy- regardless of whether it is or not.😇
💸Many so-called super foods are expensive and not affordable or practical for most families to consume on a regular or daily basis. People often pay more for a food if it’s perceived to be ‘healthy’, allowing retailers to charge higher prices.💸
🍒There’s no denying that many of the foods touted as ‘super’ are wonderful nutrient rich foods that dietitians encourage their patients to eat as part of a healthy diet. However problems arise if individuals over consume a particular food that they think is good for them, or they expect unrealistic health benefits if the food has been promoted as preventing a particular disease. For example: ‘smoking 40 cigarettes a day won’t affect me because I eat kale with every meal’ 🚬
🍽Recent studies have suggested compounds found within Brussels Sprouts activate cancer –fighting systems within your body, meaning the Brussels sprout is now promoted as a super-food. The problem is, for the cancer fighting effects to be seen in real life individuals would need to consume amounts of Brussels sprouts that would be impractical and unappetising in a normal balanced diet.🍽
🍏Verdict: A balanced varied diet is key! If you pack your diet with fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish you will be consuming all the nutrients you need. No one food contains all the nutrients you need.
Photo credit: Pixabay