Monday, November 4, 2013

Superfoods or Superscams?

If you haven't heard the word "superfood" lately, please raise your hand.




Yeah, that's what I thought.  It's kind of  a buzz word these days, no?

So - superfoods.  What are they?  What does it mean?

Before I go too far, yes - I get the concept.  There are foods out there that have lots of nutrients in them.  They're extra good for you.  You should try to eat more of them.

You know what I call superfoods?  Fruits and vegetables, eaten in large varieties and quantities.


I bet that's not what you though I'd say.

But check it out.  Wikipedia totally breaks down the smoke screen:

"Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.  The term is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foodstuffs have the health benefits often claimed by advocates of particular superfoods."

Unproven health benefits, eh?  Marketing term, you say?

And yet, the food industry likes to put claim them all over their packages.  Liars.

Alright - beyond the obvious concept of eating more fruits and vegetables...

I've been wondering lately, at what point do you believe the hype behind a "superfood" and cash out to buy it.  Or, conversely, when do you see through the smoke and call bull-honkey?

Ta-da, just in time, I stumbled upon this article.

To make life easy for you, I'm going to highlight a few of the good for you items they mention that I also think are easy to afford and incorporate in your daily diet.  Of course, this list is not meant to be all inclusive.  I'm just getting the conversation started.  If you've got other suggestions, chime in with comments below. 

In the meantime, let's browse through the gallery...

Coconut water

"Definitely worth the price.  It's a great, natural electrolyte replacement after a long workout. Although Gatorade and Powerade still corner the market, coconut water contains less sugar and it's actually higher in potassium—an important mineral that needs replenishing post-exercise."  Natalie's footnote: still a "sugary" drink, so please consume in moderation.  My rule is - thirsty?  Water first!!

Greek style yogurt

"From a health point of view, it’s worth spending the extra money.  Plain Greek yogurt is higher in protein and contains about half the sugar, so it keeps you fuller longer."

Almond butter

"Almond butter might be the better bet - compared to peanut butter, you’ll get about the same amount of calories, but the almond version packs 169% more vitamin E, delivers twice as much fiber and nearly seven times the calcium. If you’re having trouble getting your hands on a jar, spring for natural peanut butter... you’ll at least skip out on all that added sugar packed into processed brands."


"Kale has almost four times the amount of antioxidant Vitamin C as spinach, and it's noticeably high in vitamin A and vitamin K. It can be sautéed, served in a salad and even made into crispy chips, using just a dash of olive oil."


"Cholesterol-free, higher in both protein and fiber than rice, and packed with vitamins. Plus, it can be eaten as a snack, sprinkled on a salad or combined with veggies and nuts for a wholesome side dish."

I dunno... those options all sound pretty tasty!!  Not that I've been eating anything ... as I ... type this blog...


Side note - yes, I'm leaving off chia seeds.  I think it's more expensive and less easy to incorporate at a basic/"beginner" level.  Honestly, I consider chia more of an "advanced healthy eating" food.  That being said, you are welcome to enjoy it in your diet if you can, I know I do.

And, one last thing.

I just want to highlight my personal favorite excerpt from the entire article (although, technically, I don't consider the gluten free category to be a "superfood", so I'm not sure why they put it in to begin with).  Check it out:

"Unless you have gluten sensitivity, (eating gluten free foods) doesn’t actually help with weight loss.  In fact, gluten-free items tend to be lower in fiber and, in some cases, can pack more calories than regular foods."

BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  Imagine that.  Subsisting one kind of highly processed food for another kind of even more highly processed food ... isn't ... good ... for you.  No way!

Alright, that's enough food for thought today. 

Go - go eat something healthy.


  1. This is a great post topic - thanks for sharing! I've seen the "superfood" label all over the grocery store and always figured that it was based on meeting USDA-approved nutrition specifications or the like. It was a shock for me to hear that it's pretty much just a marketing term! Go figure.

    I do love the foods you listed here, though, especially quinoa and coconut water. It's nice to know that Greek yogurt is worth the extra price. I think strawberries, blueberries, and sweet potatoes are all commonly listed as "superfoods" and I happen to love all of those, too!

    1. Yum - I love berries and sweet potatoes, too!

      Don't you just hate marketing gimmicks? You'd think "superfood" was somehow a standard of food quality. But, unfortunately, I haven't found anything that states there is a specific standard that must be met to use the term.