We are all constantly looking out for newer diets and food supplements to lose weight. There is at least one new diet on the market every week. “Diets” is one of the common topics for discussion in offices and parties. We all strive to look good and healthy. “Superfoods” is being promoted by several companies to lose weight and improve health. Is “ Superfoods” the solution to all your problems?
What is ‘Superfood”?
There is no agreed medical definition of superfood and the European Union(EU) has banned the term from food labels unless supported by scientific evidence. The term “Superfoods” has been used for food that contains a high content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids. Examples of Superfoods include blueberries, walnuts, broccoli, soy, seeds etc. According to the American Heart Association, there are no set criteria for determining which food are superfoods and which are not.
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How did the term “Superfood” come about?
“Superfood” is simply a marketing term coined by some companies for certain food items, which they claim to improve your health.
More and more people are looking out for some magical food which can improve their physical/ mental health and well-being. This concept exemplifies the well-known statement of Hippocrates ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’’. The term “functional food” was used in Japan 30 years ago for foods which, based on scientific evidence, may improve health conditions and can be applied to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Food marketers later discovered a more appealing adjective for food, “Superfoods” to hook you in. Food industry aims to make us believe that eating only certain types of foods can magically improve our lifestyle and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Food retailers tend to promote exotic foods such as dragon fruit, rambutan, and acai berry claiming that they are healthier than others and are sold at premium price. In reality, nothing can substitute for healthy balanced eating. There is no food which has magical properties to provide you with all the nutrition, essential minerals and vitamins.
Let’s examine the Superfood choices nutritionally!
As seen in the table above, foods that have been granted Superfood status are mainly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants (vitamins including A, C, E, flavonoids and minerals including selenium and zinc).
So, can Superfood help you lose weight?
A number of people have unrealistic expectations about these foods, but the most common use of these foods is to lose weight. It is fair to say that you will shed some pounds after using these foods for a certain period, yet you are most likely to regain that weight as soon as you get back to your normal diet. Given that the long-term use of so-called Superfood diets can cause health problems, you will have to stop dieting on these so-called Superfoods at some point. Therefore, think about a sustainable eating pattern that you can maintain for life – something you can realistically stick to in the long-term, not just for a month or two. This means having a balanced diet containing a wide variety of foods in appropriate portion sizes. (British Dietetic Association)
Consuming these Superfoods will not cause damage to our health, yet relying on them will leave us deprived of other required nutrients found in different food and with our wallet much lighter. Thus, at The London Obesity Clinic we support a balanced diet and suggest that instead of expecting miracles from one food, it is best to eat a variety of foods and focus on getting 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day to ensure your body gets enough nutrients.