The other day, I noticed a rash of people in my Facebook feed sharing an article that had the headline saying “superfoods are overrated.” The inner-workings of the article claimed that many superfoods were being heavily marketed in ways which embellished their true, verifiable and scientific abilities. I saw a few more crop up as well.
One reason given in the first article is that the label, “superfood,” contributes to people eating “too much of that food.” This, of course, is blasphemous. The article gives an example of an acai granola bowl that contains 13.5 teaspoons of sugar. The claim, of course, is that the sugar is harmful. Here’s the thing with that: That’s not a ton of sugar, comparatively speaking. But aside from that, acai isn’t a bowl. The bowl was created using a true superfood. Your problem is with the bowl of added ingredients, not the core marketed ingredient, which is acai. The writer egregiously falls into a fallacy and inappropriately condemns a super healthy food source.
In the second article, Australian website owner (The Alchemists), Ondine Puriton-Miller, says, “There were never superfoods or clean-eating in my house as a kid. It was just food. I didn’t know you could choose not to eat vegetables.”
“It’s not that fads are bad … but I think it’s important to acknowledge what’s behind it and your motivation for doing it. Fads are fads, they come and go … but wellness should always be a part of a person’s life. The minute it becomes an obsession is a whole different story.”
It might be that Puriton-Miller is just attempting to latch on to the trend of calling out superfoods as hype and getting a little hype of her own. Maybe I can’t blame her. Maybe. But her statements really are a bit misleading. I, like her, grew up in a world without superfood labels as well. Or did I? Oranges were known to cure common colds. Apple Cider Vinegar was known to help settle a stomach. An apple a day? Maybe the exact label and term weren’t applied, but we certainly did have superfood types. We understood that natural fruits, vegetables, fermented vegetables, and herbs, could certainly be highly beneficial to our health. And because of that, we sought them out.
So what’s the difference today? We now label them as superfoods after science and research confirm their extraordinary health benefit profiles. We categorize them under a more exact name. I’m not sure that’s criminal.
Yes, my work doesn’t come without bias. I run a superfood green drink review website. Fair enough. However, I’m not alienating the status quo of scientific confirmation as a way to get more eyeballs. This article simply doesn’t have the same pop or appeal as an article calling superfoods as “hype” does.
Superfoods are amazing for us, neither article attempts to spin any different angles. I think it is obvious that eating a healthy, balanced diet is what is best for us. But that shouldn’t imply that purchasing additional superfoods that are now conveniently available to us in stores and online isn’t beneficial. That’s where these headlines mislead us. Sure, as kids, goji berries weren’t growing in my grandmother’s backyard. But had they been, we’d had eaten them daily (or when available). And had we been able to order them online, we would have. If we’d been able to sprinkle goji berries in a superfood shake, well, of course, we would have. That’s just common sense.
This latest “hater” push on superfoods is just a small portion of people who are tired of hearing about superfoods. But the fact is, superfoods do work by benefiting our health and that’s why they are so “hyped.” Supplement manufacturers want to cash in on a trend, but hey, their production of superfood powders is a testament to the power of superfoods. It shouldn’t be considered a condemnation. No one is being forced to buy a superfood supplement, you can buy many superfoods in the produce section of your local grocery stores.
You know what else is good? Cars. Cars allow us to go 10 miles across town in 20 minutes, rather than walking it in a day and ending up with a nasty sunburn and a pair of bad knees. Cars are legit awesome. And car manufacturers know this, so they hype up cars in advertisements. Because cars truly add value to our lives, manufacturers want to make cars and get us to buy those cars and leave them with a profit. America, folks, it is awesome. This shouldn’t take away from how great a contribution cars are, should it? Nope, and it doesn’t. So it shouldn’t take away from how beneficial superfoods are for us.
So let’s finally stop the lunacy and headline baiting and get back to living lives with healthy superfoods in them!