“Goji berries are full of antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer. “Chia seed slows down the aging process. “Quinoa stimulates the metabolism. Nowadays, all kinds of products are promoted as superfoods.
Due to the high content of nutrients, they would prevent various diseases and discomforts. But there are no such panaceas. It turns out that the Dutch do not fall for them. Only one in ten indicates that they find it necessary to eat superfoods in addition to the regular food. Young people and higher educated people are a little more enthusiastic about superfoods. The older the consumer, the more sceptical they are. This is shown by a representative sample of 1,000 people from research bureau GfK commissioned by the Voedingscentrum and Gezondheidsnet.nl.
Not superfoods, but varied food keeps you healthy
Patricia Schutte, spokesman for the Nutrition Centre, says he is happy that people are critical: “There are no superfoods. The claimed health effects of superfoods are insufficiently scientifically substantiated. Moreover, no single food can provide all the important nutrients that the body needs. Variation is the magic word. The best way to get all the different nutrients you need is to vary a lot every day. This is especially important for fruit and vegetables.”
Superfood is a marketing term
About one in six Dutch people are familiar with the term superfoods. A quarter know the term, but don’t know what it means. After reading the description, four out of ten remain unfamiliar with the term ‘superfoods’. In response to the question to respondents as to what they understood by superfoods, a variety of answers were given. They mention ‘specific’ superfoods, such as goji berries, hemp seed, algae and chia seed. What struck me was that they also mentioned many ‘ordinary’ products, such as vegetables, fruit and fish. “It is logical that many different superfoods are mentioned,” explains Patricia Schutte. “The term superfoods is not legally defined and can be used by anyone. This makes it easy to use as a marketing strategy.”
The danger of superfoods
Of the respondents, 23 percent said they sometimes buy a superfood. They do this mainly to improve resistance, general health and energy levels. Berries and seeds are the most popular superfoods. They mainly eat berries for better resistance and seeds for good bowel movements. One in five of the buyers uses a superfood every day.
Is that a bad thing? “This is not a problem in principle, because fruit and vegetables, for example, are just part of a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter whether people call it superfood”, says Patricia Schutte. “The marketing term superfood can be dangerous, because people can go crazy in their convictions. They may wrongly believe that they have to eat or drink a certain product in large quantities. And then they run the risk of an imperfect, one-sided diet.”