Every couple of weeks the lifestyle or health section of every major newspaper in the world will feature an article about this month’s latest superfoods – the foods you should be eating as they contain a chemical that fights cancer or melts fat or some other amazing health benefit.
The latest superfood article that is doing the rounds of the world’s major newspapers is about Surprising Superfoods – foods that everyone thinks are bad for you but actually have good qualities. My main problem about this article is not that the information is incorrect as I have no way of knowing the factual content of this article because the studies aren’t listed, but because this article offers conflicting information.
Looking at the list of foods that people assume are good for you, but apparently aren’t – we have 6 entries – Tofu, Orange Juice, Apples, Smoothies, Wholemeal bread, Yoghurt and Sushi. Of these 6, the major problem with 4 of them (OJ, Apples, Smoothies, Wholemeal bread and Yoghurt) is the amount of sugar contains in these products (most of it naturally occurring by the way). The article states that even those these foods are packed with vitamins and other essential ingredients for good health, they are very bad for you cause they are high in sugar. You get the impression that you would be lucky not to slip into a diabetic coma from eating one apple. Wholemeal bread also gets singled out for not only being “laden” with sugar but the fibre in it is very bad if you are constipated making it an extreme danger food, one would imagine, for the constipated diabetic .
Now after you are done rolling your eyes at the stupidity of labeling food as bad because it contains naturally occurring fructose and glucose, you head over to the good food list. Topping the list is Jam which they admit in the first three words is “undeniably high in sugar”, but due to the cancer fighting properties of pectin it is okay to ignore all the added sugar in this food. This is my WTF moment about this article. How can you go on for a whole section about how bad sugar is and why you shouldn’t basically eat fruit high in sugar and then say that it is perfectly fine to eat jam even though it contains lots of added sugar?? Either eating food high in sugar is bad thing regardless of whether that food contains good stuff like vitamins or it is okay to eat food high in sugar because it does contain good stuff – you can’t have it both ways.
Articles on so-called “superfoods” annoy me because they usually focus on one small chemical property contained in the food and claim that it will cure cancer or make you lose weight. Rarely, if ever, do they actually explain how much of that chemical is in the food and how much of the food you would need to consume to get any cancer fighting or weight loss benefit from it – now that would actually make an interesting article. Then the next month, the amazing superfood from the previous month is completely forgotten and is replaced by a brand new superfood with an even more amazing health benefit. The best thing to do is to ignore these “superfoods” and just eat a balanced diet containing a wide variety of foods. However, if you do need an excuse to eat that bar of dark chocolate feel free to assign it a random health benefit as I am sure that there will an article just around the corner proving it.