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7 Superfoods That Are Completely Overrated

A superfood is a food which is not only nutrient-dense and offers a number of health benefits, but is also ecologically viable and sustainable. However, over-emphasizing the superfoods detracts people from adopting an overall healthy lifestyle.

7 Superfoods That Are Completely Overrated

Hyping superfoods detracts people from adopting an overall healthy lifestyle

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Superfoods are healthy and ecological but they might be overrated
  2. Superfoods can detract people from choosing a healthy lifestyle
  3. Coconut is a superfood which is a superfood has a lot of calories
Type the word 'superfood' and Google will show you 190 million search results. The word 'superfood' is being used way too casually and is often misinterpreted and misused.

What really is a superfood?

A superfood is a food which is not only nutrient-dense and offers a number of health benefits, but is also ecologically viable and sustainable.

Every few months, there is a new superfood on the superstore shelves selling at a premium. And marketers claim that these foods can do everything from increasing lifespan, increasing immunity, reducing risk of cancer and fighting ageing, to boosting fertility & libido and any possible health benefits you can think of.



As I say this, I do not question their importance. However, over-emphasizing the superfoods detracts people from adopting an overall healthy lifestyle. So, people don't want to make the effort of making lifestyle changes, instead they just include a few superfoods in their skewered routines. Isolated superfoods unsupported by healthy lifestyle can make no significant impact on health.

Another problem is that the usage of the term 'superfood' is not regulated by the authorities. So the food industry manipulates their use to suit themselves.

 
superfoods

Superfoods offer many health benefits; however, they are overhyped
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Here Are The Top 3 Indian Alternatives To Imported Superfoods

Some of these overhyped superfoods are:

1. Cold pressed juices
Cold pressed juices may potentially be slightly higher than regular juices in vitamin and fibre content. However, it is better to eat your calories than drink them. When you eat the whole fruit, you eat the skin, flesh and possibly seeds; the fibre fills you up. Cold pressed juices may not have added sugars, yet when you drink juice, you take in a lot of fructose from 3-4 pieces of fruit at the same time. Juices don't have the same bulk/ satiety as the whole fruit/vegetable.

 
juice

Cold press juices are rich with fibers but they still lack the nutrients that can be provided by fruits
Photo Credit: iStock

2. Acai berry & goji berry
Acai berries and Goji berries have been given special status in the fitness world. Though these berries are nutrient dense and have antioxidants too, they offer no additional benefits over the more locally and easily available ones like strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry etc. Also, there isn't enough evidence to support the tall claims made by marketers. When food travels thousands of kilometers and sits in supermarket shelves for months, they lose their nutrients. So enjoy the local berries to get the same benefits at a fraction of their cost.

3. Energy/protein/granola bars
There was a time when protein bars were unappealing in taste. The wide variety of bars, nowadays available in a range of flavors and tastes, to appeal to every taste bud, are laced with a lot of sugar, hidden sugars and often fats to bind the bar together. So read the labels carefully or better still prepare your own granola.

4. Milk alternatives
Nut/ soy milk usually contain about 2 percent of the nut/soy, the rest is water. Manufacturers add sweeteners, vegetable oils, and a bunch of additives to make the milk palatable and increase their shelf life. Check the labels to find a product with minimum ingredients. The best option (nutritionally and economically) is to make your own milk substitutes.

 
soya milk

Soy milk is a great alternative to milk
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 7 Proven Health Benefits Of Soy Milk


5. Low-fat nut butters
Nuts butters like peanut butter and almond butter are packed with heart friendly MUFA. In the low-fat versions, when the fat is cut, it is replaced by sugar. The full fat nut butters keep you satisfied for longer and don't spike your blood sugar. Look for nut butters with only two ingredients - nuts and salt.

6. Bullet proof coffee
BPC is fast becoming a favorite among weight watchers. It's a blend of coffee, grass fed butter and medium chain triglycerides (Brain Octane). Proponents claim that it kills appetite, increases alertness, boosts metabolism and aids weight loss. However, the claims aren't fully supported by evidence. Also, a cup of BPC packs a whopping 470 calories and replaces at least one meal. Thus you end up missing out on vital micronutrients. Also, it detracts you from healthy eating practices.

Also read: 5 Tricks To Make Your Morning Coffee Healthier

7. Coconut sugar/ agave nectar/ brown sugar
Natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar and the likes may have slightly lower glycemic index than sugar and some of them also have minute amounts of some minerals. However, these cannot be called healthy foods as they still have a lot of calories. They should be used with the same caution as white sugar.

I do not wish to undermine these superfoods. They do offer benefits but the catch is that they may not be worthy of all the hype. They are beneficial when adopted as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. And very often, there are cheaper, local and seasonal substitutes available, which are equally healthy and are available at one-tenth the cost.

 
coconut

Coconut has a lot of calories despite being a superfood
Photo Credit: iStock

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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