In the past couple of years, there has been so much hype about super foods, but what are they? I mean, if something is ‘low fat’ or ‘high protein’ we know what that means but what does ‘superfood’ mean? How does it affect our health? Why are superfoods good for us?
Lets find out
Who better to find this information out from than expert Professor Richard Hyde, a food regulating specialist, who used to work as a solicitor in this area and now lecturers at Nottingham University. This week, Richard kindly provided a webinar to get on top of all these questions and give us a little update.
So what did we discover?
Food claims are highly regulated under European law, so you can’t claim a food is good for your health in some way unless that specific claim is on the EU Register on Nutrition Health Claims. For example you can say ‘prunes are good for digestive health’ as this is a claim recognised on the list and backed up with scientific evidence to show, yes prunes are good for digestive health. However, you couldn’t say ‘milk is useful in PCOS’ because this is not a health claim on the register and has no scientific backing.
Where does ‘superfood’ fit in?
Well, the term superfood sounds really wooly, and it is because technically superfood doesn’t mean anything, it just implies that a food is good for you. ‘Superfoods’ are classed as a non-specific health claim.
The law states that you can not mislead the public with your descriptions so if you use ‘superfood’ then that food must have something in it which falls in line with one of the health claims on the list. This ‘something’ has to be documented on the packaging/ within the advert. So if you look closely you may see somewhere in small writing something like *high in fibre or *source of potassium.
So why is this so bad for the public?
You will often see me talking about what a load of rubbish superfoods are, but surely if they all relate back to a proven health claim then they are actually good for you?
This is why not..
If Ron goes to the supermarket and buys his favourite ‘superfood’ – cheese *source of calcium. Ron will also be having lots of saturated fat and potentially extra calories.
If Lucy wants to boost her vitamin C levels to stop colds she may go and buy her favourite superfood – orange juice *source of vitamin C. Lucy drinks 1L a day so also consumes more calories than she needs, ends up with decayed teeth and a high sugar intake.
Take home message.
Not 1 food or drink is good for you or does you any benefit on it’s own. So save your money and just stick to a balanced and varied diet with plenty of fresh food rather than buying into ‘superfoods.’
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