We hear it everywhere, SUPERFOOD, but what is it?
Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.
The superfood term is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits often claimed by advocates of particular superfoods.
So if this is only a marketing term why do we fall into the trap of buying these items?
It says "super"food so must be good for us, right?
It says "diet" on it, I'm on a diet, so this is what I should be eating to help me lose weight, right?
To be fair advertising is very good at making us buy these products. Funny, witty ads, healthy slim looking people or celebrities claiming this, that, the other and more?
Noticed that most of these products are offered for half the "normal" price to hook you in? We love a bargain, right?
To be fair we should ask ourselves a few questions first:
1. What is and why is it a super food, I.e. What is the science behind it?
2. What makes it a "diet" product and why is it a healthier version of what we normally buy?
3. Do we need it?
4. Why is it half price?
5. Why does it cost twice or 3 times as much?
6. What do we do with it? How do we use it?
The list goes on.
Have a look in your fridge, cupboard, pantry etc and count how many of these products you have got, used once and never used? Probably even out of date?
Now look in your fridge, freezer, cupboards and count all the pre packed and ready meals?
How did you do?
Now you are asking yourself what was the point of this exercise?
Let me explain:
Most people are not happy with the way they look. True?
- marketing & businesses know that!
Most people feel instantly better when they know they have done something good for their body. True?
- marketing & businesses know that!
Psychology and behaviour play an important role here.
We live in a world where
- body image plays an important role.
- chronic illnesses are more apparent
- most of the food in supermarkets is pre packed (snacks, sauces, ready meals, etc.) and has a shelf life of x amount of months or years - convenient?
- we don't have time to cook/for anything
- we prefer convenience
- we are lazy
Most of us want to live an active and healthy lifestyle but really don't know how to.
So again when someone advertises a "super"food or "diet' product it's easy, we only have to go to the shop and buy it and feel better. No!
The key is message is: we don't know how to! We are so confused by all the advertising and information out there and businesses are taking full advantage of it.
If we followed a few simple rules, everything could be so much easier.
1. Question the science behind it, from a credible source, what makes it a "super" or "diet" food. Is it really healthier and why?
2. Do I really need to buy it or will other food provide the same nutritional benefit?
3. Stay away from processed food (ready meals, sauces, etc). Most contain many E numbers, too much sugar and salt.
4. Stay away from "diet" products. Most contain a lot of sugar to make up for the lack in taste and cost the earth.
5. Avoid S.H.I.T. - sugar hit causes insulin trauma, this is where your body gets a sugar rush from certain foods like refined/processed carbohydrates - anything white like white pasta, white rice, etc. - or sugary foods like chocolate, cakes, biscuits.
6. Avoid boring beige food and Eat rainbow colours - fresh vegetables and fruit. Frozen vegetables and fruit are good too. Eat seasonal food.
7. Vegetables are good carbohydrates, you can eat plenty of them!
8. Your daily energy intake should be 50% good carbs, 20% protein and 30% fat ( a sports person needs to increase the protein intake accordingly)
9. Cook simple food using fresh ingredients ( if you can't cook ask yourself why and get someone to show you!)
10. Portion control and chew your food.
11. Treat yourself now and again! Not every day (this includes crisps, alcohol, sweets, biscuits, cake, etc).
12. Make a list when you go shopping and pre plan your meals. This will stop impulse buys and saves money - and never go shopping on an empty stomach, trust me!
13. Go outside and walk, get active.
14. Start thinking about how you fuel your body, ask for advice, educate yourself and family/friends, go to local markets and ask them about the products or go on a nutrition course.
It's really not rocket science if we stick to a few principles and you will get all your nutrition without buying expensive "superfoods". Get creative in the kitchen and experiment. Have fun. Rome wasn't built in a day!
So will you still buy so called "superfoods"? Maybe. We live and learn.
Think about it next time you see an advert on TV or go shopping.