Functional Foods Controversy – Are superfruits all they are hyped up to be?
As seen on TV, the internet and newsstands, it is hard to avoid the exaggerated claims and promises made by smart marketers and manufacturers of the so called “super fruit” juices. This caught my eye in particular last week when I read a recent superfruit company was put under scrutiny by US regulators who filed a complaint that their unsubstantiated claims were dangerous and misleading. On a daily basis, I am asked what is the “magic food” for optimal health and longevity, so here is the low down on the “superfruit” controversery.....
THE HYPE? From a scientific perspective, the notion that a “superfruit” can have curative powers on its own is erroneous and misleading. It defies the foundation of nutrition whereby a variety and synergy of nutrients work collectively to optimize health . By telling people to drink a 300 calorie superfruit beverage to counteract poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, we are really providing “false hope” and setting ourselves up for more harm than good.
THE BENEFIT Superfruits (ie: berries, pomegranates,) may have health benefits. We know they do contain potent antioxidants that have been shown to help ward off damaging free radicals in the body. Human studies have shown that although there is a peak benefit after ingestion, this effect quickly dissipates. The reason being is that those antioxidants are quickly neutralized once they quench damaging free radicals and are not recycled. Therefore, in order to get the most benefit from these antioxidant rich foods, it is best rely on evidence-based health research and eat berries of various colours, which are associated with different antioxidants. By choosing antioxidant rich foods from a variety of sources (and throughout the day,) is the best protocol to help provide your body with continued antioxidant protection.