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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Superfood is a marketing term for food assumed to confer health benefits resulting from an exceptional nutrient density.[1][2] The term is not commonly used by experts, dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits claimed by their advocates. Even without scientific evidence of exceptional nutrient content, many new, exotic, and foreign fruits or "ancient" grains are marketed under the term – or the related term, superfruit or supergrain – after being introduced or re-introduced to Western markets.

In 2007, the marketing of products as "superfoods" was prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific authorized health claim supported by credible scientific research.[3]

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  • ✪ 'Superfood' or Super Scam? The Science Behind So-Called 'Superfoods'
  • ✪ What People Get Wrong About Superfoods
  • ✪ Honey: Magical, Immortal Superfood
  • ✪ 9 Top SuperFoods on the Planet
  • ✪ Antioxidants: Superfood or Super-hyped?


It used to be that when you were hungry you ate food. [JAYDE GOBBLING DOWN] And if you wanted to eat healthy food, you ate something considered to be a fruit, or a vegetable. [JAYDE HOLDING AN APPLE] But thanks to marketing companies trying to make more money, all of a sudden, ordinary foods we’d known for years were joined by “SUPERFOODS!!!!! Suddenly a blueberry wasn’t just food, it was a SUPERFOOD!!!! But do these fruits really have superhero-like powers? [SCIQ INTRO] “Superfoods” are things like kale, Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, Blueberries, Cranberries, Mulberries, Acai, and Chia seeds These foods do have a very high nutritional content, and are generally low in carbs, so they’re ‘good for you’ in that they have lots of essentials. They have the stuff your body can’t make by itself. Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, Antioxidants, Essential fatty acids, Amino acids. But! And I must stress the but here! Those things are found in a variety of foods. For example, blueberries - s superfood - contain 14mg of vitamin C per 100g, which is super high. You do want that vitamin C, you need it, and so blueberries are great! But oranges also have vitamin C. In fact, they have more than 3 times more than blueberries at 54g per 100g. So why is a blueberry super and an orange just average? Who knows! Because There’s no scientific criteria for what separates a superfood from a plain ol food. So next time you see a food dressin itself up as a superhero, just ignore it. Super food is just a marketing term. There really is no definition as to what a super food is and they dont have much benefit over any other type of food. The best thing you can possibly do is eat a balance diet. To that end Here’s a handy checklist of phrases you can ignore: “Immune boosting” - You cant boost your immune system through food. If you are already eating a balnce diet your immune system is already as strong as its going to be. It would be better to get more sleep. “Detox” - A lot of food is advertised as having detoxifying properties, but thats what your liver is for. Foods dont detox “Oxygenating” - Sometimes things like water is sold as oxygenating, but they cant oxygenate your body thats why we have lungs “Cleansing” - is another term we often see in juices but your body cleanses itself. its designed to cleanse as it goes. and if it didn't work we would all be dead. you shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair. So some of you might be thinking, well Jayde thats unfair, you're saying I have to eat a balance diet but I dont have time to eat a balance diet, so can I just have a crap diet and then have some super food and itll cancel eachother out? well unfortunatly thats not how it works, superfoods are high in vitamins and minerals but they are not that much higher than any other food. So eating a handful of blueberries isnt gonna cancel out your crappy diet of hotdogs and pizza that you've been eating earlier in the day. Its important to eat a balance diet as possible. There is no one fruit or vegetable that has everything your body needs, so a balance diet is really important. So dont fall for these food marketing terms, there just there for you to pay more money for foods you probably wouldnt have bought anyway. But what do you guys think?Whats your favorite fake food marketing term? let us know in the comments below HI everyone! I'm Jayde Lovell, resident science nerd at the Young Turks Network. You're watching SciQ, and we know you don't want to miss an episode, so click the subscribe button down below.


Definition and use of the term

Commonly cited as a superfood, blueberries actually provide moderate levels of nutrients compared to many vegetables and other fruits.[4][5]
Commonly cited as a superfood, blueberries actually provide moderate levels of nutrients compared to many vegetables and other fruits.[4][5]

The term has no official definition by regulatory authorities in major consumer markets, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture or the European Food Safety Authority.[6] It appears to have been first used in a Canadian newspaper in 1949 when referring to the supposed nutritional qualities of a muffin.[2]:68 In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the term "superfood" was used as a marketing tool for selling specific foods, dietary supplements, foods with selected food additives, and self-help books about fad diets, promising an enhancement to health. "Superfood" products were sold at a higher price than similar foods not marketed with the label.[2]:71-71[7] The purported health benefits and effects of foods described as superfoods are unsupported or disputed by scientific studies.[1]

As of 2007, the marketing of products as superfoods was prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific authorized health claim supported by credible scientific research.[8] The ruling was a marketing guide issued to manufacturers to assure scientific proof or evidence why a food would be labeled as extra healthy or classified as a superfood.[8] The European Food Information Council stated that it was impractical for people to have a diet based only on superfoods when nutrients are provided readily from a diet based on a diversity of foods, especially a diet including fruits and vegetables.[1]

According to Cancer Research UK, "the term 'superfood' is really just a marketing tool, with little scientific basis to it".[9] Although superfoods are often promoted as preventing or curing diseases, including cancer, Cancer Research UK cautioned that they "cannot substitute for a generally healthy and balanced diet".[9] According to Catherine Collins, chief dietitian at St George's Hospital in London, the term can be harmful: "There are so many wrong ideas about superfoods that I don't know where best to begin to dismantle the whole concept."[10]

Superfruits are a subset of superfoods as first used in 2004.[11][12][13] The designation of a fruit as a superfruit is entirely up to the product manufacturer, as the term is primarily used to create consumer demand.[12][14][15]


The Dutch food safety organization Voedingscentrum noted that the health claims marketers used to sell goji berry, hemp seed, chia seed, and wheatgrass were not scientifically proven.[16] The organization warned that people who consumed such foods in large quantities may develop an "impaired, one-sided diet".[16]

Berries remain under research and do not have evidence of providing any health benefits different from other fresh fruits.[1][17][11] Specifically, blueberries are not especially nutrient dense (a superfood characteristic);[1] they have moderate content of only three essential nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.[5]

History and economics

In 2007, the superfoods category was forecast to become a billion dollar global industry by 2011,[18] with several thousand new superfruit products expected to enter the marketplace. According to Datamonitor, superfruit product launches grew at a rate of 67% (2007–2008), but underwent significant category erosion beginning in 2011, when introductions of food and nonfood products featuring pomegranate, açaí or goji declined by 56% (2011–2012 vs. 2009–2010).[11][18]

More than a dozen industry publications on functional foods and beverages have referred to various exotic species as superfruits, with estimates for some 10,000 new product introductions in 2007–2008.[12][18] Relatively rare fruits originating from Oceania (noni), China (goji, seabuckthorn), Southeast Asia (mangosteen) or tropical South America (açaí) and unknown to American consumers were among the first wave of superfruits successfully used in product manufacturing from 2005 to 2010,[19] but their popularity declined from 2010 to 2013.[11] However, consumer interest in new products using pomegranate remained constant during that time.[11]

The company Tahitian Noni began selling noni juice in 1996 and achieved billions of dollars in sales during their first 10 years.[19] Earlier reports showed pomegranate-based products grew nearly 400% over 2005–2007 from new product launches, a gain that exceeded the previous 6 years.[20] Similarly, sales of XanGo, a multiple-fruit juice containing mangosteen juice, grew from $40 million in 2002 to $200 million in 2005.[19]

Manufacturers may use some fruits to enhance the flavor of food products in an attempt to mask other tastes or provide impressions of novelty and health.[11][21] Five thousand new products were introduced in 2005 based on berries alone.[11][22] The superfruit category was one of the top 10 global trends in consumer products in 2008.[23] By 2013, however, innovation in superfruit products appeared to be in decline, with fewer new introductions to the category.[11]

Over the years 2011 to 2015, the number of food or beverage products containing the words "superfood", "superfruit" or "supergrain" had doubled.[24] Grains, such as quinoa, barley, spelt, and millet, are marketed as "heritage" or "ancient" superfoods because they have been consumed over centuries, are perceived as a whole food, and require minimal processing.[25]

See also

The dictionary definition of superfood at Wiktionary


  1. ^ a b c d e "The science behind superfoods: are they really super?". European Food Information Council. November 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Fitzgerald M (2014). "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superfood!". Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of US. Pegasus Books. ISBN 978-1-60598-560-2.
  3. ^ "Superfood 'ban' comes into effect". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  4. ^ di Noia, Jennifer (2014-06-05). "Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach". Preventing Chronic Disease. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (USA). 11. doi:10.5888/pcd11.130390. ISSN 1545-1151. PMC 4049200. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
  5. ^ a b "Nutrition facts profile for blueberries per 100 g, USDA Nutrient Tables, SR-21". Conde Nast. 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  6. ^ Brown, Amy (2010). Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-538-73498-1.
  7. ^ "How 'Superfoods' Like Bulletproof Coffee Get Popular (Hint: It's Not Nutritional Science)". Healthline. January 2015. Retrieved 10 Mar 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Superfood 'ban' comes into effect". BBC News. 2007-06-28.
  9. ^ a b "'Superfoods' and cancer". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  10. ^ Hill, Amelia (2007-05-13). "Forget superfoods, you can't beat an apple a day". The Observer.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Srinivasan S (6 March 2008). "Superfruits - Bespoke for Functionality or Fad?". Frost & Sullivan Market Insight. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Sohn, Emily (10 March 2008). "Superfruits, super powers?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Amazon superfruits set to boom". Functional Ingredients. William Reed Business Media Ltd. 30 November 2006. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  14. ^ Crawford, Karl; Julian Mellentin (2008). Successful Superfruit Strategy: How To Build a Superfruit Business. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84569-540-8.[page needed]
  15. ^ Starling, Shane (14 May 2008). "Superfruit success not grown on trees, say authors". William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  16. ^ a b Jeroen Schutijser (6 March 2014). "Superfoods bestaan helemaal niet (in Dutch)". Nederlandse Omroep Stichting.
  17. ^ Seeram, N. P. (2008). "Berry fruits: Compositional elements, biochemical activities, and the impact of their intake on human health, performance, and disease". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56 (3): 627–9. doi:10.1021/jf071988k. PMID 18211023.
  18. ^ a b c McNally, Alex (10 August 2007). "Superfoods market set to double by 2011". William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  19. ^ a b c Schardt, David (November 2006). "Super Fruit: Squeezing cold cash out of three 'hot' juices" (PDF). Nutrition Action Healthletter. Center for Science in the Public Interest: 9–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  20. ^ Runestad, Todd (1 October 2007). "Functional ingredients market overview". Functional Ingredients. William Reed Business Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  21. ^ Halliday, Jess (23 October 2007). "Superfruit flavours get ever more exotic". William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  22. ^ Fletcher, Anthony (31 March 2006). "Super fruits set to dominate flavour market". William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  23. ^ "Fresh, super and organic top trends for 2008". William Reed Business Media Ltd. 28 November 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  24. ^ Rebekah Schouten (13 May 2016). "The top three trending superfoods". Food Business News, Sosland Publishing Co. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  25. ^ Ryot Studio (23 October 2018). "Why ancient grains are the superfood of the future". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
This page was last edited on 24 September 2019, at 18:35
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