From goji berries to acai, chia seeds to quinoa, every day there seems to be a new ‘superfood’ hitting the supermarket shelves.
Each has huge health claims — promising to protect against everything from cancer to weight gain — and often a price tag to match. Not to mention a celebrity following.
According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), 61 per cent of people questioned had purchased a food just because it had been labelled a ‘superfood’. But what exactly is a superfood — and are they really all they’re cracked up to be?
Nutritionist Ian Marber is sceptical: ‘There is no definition of a superfood, except that it’s a food with a marketing department,’ he says. ‘It helps when the food in question comes from an exotic, remote area and “has been widely used by tribesmen for thousands of years”. They tend to have a hefty price tag, which adds to the allure.’
Marber is not the only one with reservations. The EU has banned the term on packaging, unless it can be backed up with substantial science, and Cancer Research has deemed the phrase ‘just a marketing tool’. Even worse than the foods not living up to the hype, some claims have been made that, in high doses, these foods can actually be harmful, resulting in thyroid problems and arthritis flare-ups.
Which? magazine says we could save up to £440 a year by ditching expensive superfoods in favour of old-fashioned, vitamin-rich foods such as kiwi fruit and broccoli.
So just how super are superfoods?
Source - Daily Mail