You know all those super foods we hear about with amazing health benefits? Well, according to NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle,they’re totally overrated. She’s spent decades looking into studies paid for by food trade groups and companies to find out just how healthy these foods are.
“By an amazing coincidence,” Nestle says sarcastically, “all of the research supports benefits. You name the food, its trade group is sponsoring research. It’s about marketing, not science, which diverts scientists from working on bigger problems.”
Nestle’s new book, “Buying Nutrition Science: How Food Industry Sponsorship Skews Research and Harms Public Health,” cuts through the hype around these supposed superfoods we’re paying top dollar for. Here are some she considers the most overrated.
Avocados - While there’s a lot of research that backs up the claim that the fats in avocado can help lower bad cholesterol when you swap them for less healthy fats, Nestle has trouble with research paid for by trade groups like the Hass Avocado Board that link eating avocados with better diet quality, feeling full and having more energy.
Pomegranates - Nestle calls out ads paid for by Pom Wonderful that claim pomegranate juice has prostate health benefits. And a 2015 Federal Trade Commission judgement found that Pom marketers made deceptive claims.
Blueberries - “They have higher levels of some antioxidants than other fruits, but other fruits are higher in other antioxidants,” Nestle explains. “All fruits have hundreds of antioxidants — hardly any of them studied.”
Dark chocolate - We all love to think we’re eating health food when we nibble on dark chocolate, but Nestle points out that most of the studies claiming it’s a good source of antioxidants that can improve heart health and brain function are based on pure dark chocolate, and she says that’s so bitter, no one would eat it. So much for that superfood dessert.
Source: New York Post