Are Superfoods Really Super?

According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal the term superfood, placed on a variety of different products around the supermarket, may be misleading to consumers. This is because there is no commonly accepted definition of what constitutes a “super food”. According to the article:

The term superfood made its way into the popular lexicon about 15 years ago but there is no formal definition for it, says Dr. Hagen. “The term is often used to grab your attention or sell you something, so I would say, buyer beware,” he says. “Even for foods that have been studied, the data is modest, slim or none at all.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently sought to classify “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables by their nutrient density—top billing went to watercress, followed by Chinese cabbage and chard. And while marketers are at liberty to label anything a superfood, Dr. Hagen doesn’t believe any one food can be super. “There is not a food out there that has all 30 to 50 nutrients that we’re supposed to consume regularly,” he says.

Dr. Hagen recommends people eat as much nutrient-dense food as possible. “Fresh food is always better,” he says.

Therefore consumers need to be aware of the fact that superfoods are perhaps not as good for their health as they are marketed to be. That is not to say that consumers should avoid these products, as they often are healthy and can greatly benefit a consumers diet. Rather consumers need to understand that solely eating one or two superfoods is not as beneficial for the human body as eating a variety of different fresh foods, including differing fruits and vegetables.

Read More- “What Makes a Superfood?” (Heidi Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal)

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A rising senior at Colgate University, John is currently working as a research fellow with Consumers' Research.

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