The truth about 'miracle foods' -- another good article from The Guardian

First, a takedown of the detox industry. Now, a solid deconstruction of the idea of 'superfoods'.

I don't know when The Guardian decided to get serious about dispelling pseudoscience, but I like it.
“Whether it’s coconut oil, chia seeds or apple cider vinegar,” says Duane Mellor, an assistant professor in dietetics at the University of Nottingham and a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, “there is no scientific evidence to suggest that if you top up your diet with any ‘miracle’ or special food that you’ll get any of the promised effects. The idea is almost entirely a marketing vehicle, but when people read claims online, they start to think differently and can start believing it.” One of the reasons people might believe the hype is because as with any good miracle – or magic trick – the success lies in smoke and mirrors. With miracle foods, while the magical health food salesman is conjuring a few extra coins out of our pockets, we’re left bamboozled by scientific terminology.

theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/15/truth-about-miracle-foods-chia-seeds-coconut-oil

Replies

  • JAT74
    JAT74 Posts: 1,078 Member
    I'm glad this has been brought up as so many people have been scammed by this type of thing. I went through a phase of detoxing and buying these types of miracle foods but like post people discovered they did nothing for me but take my money. With the increase in local area groups on Facebook, over the last couple of years I've noticed more people selling this kind of superfood or miracle diet cure, especially at the start of the year and it's sad how many people will fall for it.
  • Wiseandcurious
    Wiseandcurious Posts: 730 Member
    edited February 2015
    Thank you for that link, that article is really good, way to go for the media. Hopefully as people get more exposure to reason, more people's eyes will open. I am only moderately optimistic however. In my limited experience and observations, people believe pseudoscientific claims about magic foods, or magic anything, not so much for lack of information but out of psychological reasons and insecurities.
  • Elsie_Brownraisin
    Elsie_Brownraisin Posts: 786 Member
    edited February 2015
    'Yanking the spotlight back from celebrities and fad food products might be a difficult task. “The problem,” says Khavandi, “is that the message we try to get across – which is based on proper, robust evidence that has been shown time and time again – is not very interesting to people. They have heard it all before.”

    Certainly is a problem. Eating some veg and going for a swim is dull compared to eating (actually eating) Gwyneth Paltrow's books or sourcing distilled tears of plankton.

    I don't understand manuka honey, or why it's so expensive in Holland and Barrett ( a British 'health' store devoted entirely to industrial sized vats of protein powder, raspberry ketones and teabags that make you soil yourself) - they must be some privileged *kitten* bees.

    Chia seeds do add a nice squishy texture to fruit compote though, I am being fair.
  • Elsie_Brownraisin
    Elsie_Brownraisin Posts: 786 Member
    edited February 2015
    ...I don't know when The Guardian decided to get serious about dispelling pseudoscience, but I like it.

    Look up Ben Goldacre :)

    He got his dead cat the same qualifications as 'Dr' Gillian McKeith (that bug eyed, poo bothering, dessicated shyster):

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/feb/12/advertising.food

    His departed moggy is as qualified as she is to hand out nutritional advice.
  • MelodyandBarbells
    MelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,521 Member
    I remember watching a segment on a morning show where a doctor was explaining how detoxes shouldn't be a thing and how the liver functions, etc. But for every news segment like that, you can bet there a tidal wave of BS still pushing these crazy products, and people responding and buying them. I mean, with such a willing consumer pool, it's almost un-American not to buy into and sell this crap!! Give the people what they want, right?!?
  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
    Thanks for sharing :) One of the reasons I love this web site is because I've learned so much.

    Once I bought this "magic" Hoodia Slimming tea. I stupidly gave them my credit card just to try it. They shipped me new tea every other week and charged a fortune for it. I tried to get them to stop but it just kept coming. I finally had to call my cc company and have them stop payments. Ended up having to get a new card. Upside of the story is the lady at the cc company was super nice and we had a talk about dieting.

    So now if I'm ever curious about these "super foods" I search this data base to see what you fine people have to say. You all have helped me so much. Thank you.
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,943 Member
    Love it, those old magic foods being debunked.
  • Jolinia
    Jolinia Posts: 846 Member
    Good article.

    So taken with this quote from it: "Stay away from excess white-flour products, processed meats, and trans fats such as vegetable oils and palm oils found in fast foods." What it tells me is that no 'superfoods' exist to fix a bad diet.
  • tennisdude2004
    tennisdude2004 Posts: 5,623 Member
    edited February 2015
    Magic food has been around for decades though. The FDA have backed the claims of the perceived benefits of whole grains for years.

    I think all these foods should be taken with a pinch of salt (as long as it is only a pinch - too much salt is bad for you)
  • obscuremusicreference
    obscuremusicreference Posts: 1,320 Member
    I take all of my dietary advice from people who promote new and exciting things to do with nature's pocket. Frankly, if a celebrity deigns to share the wisdom they've gleaned from their $10,000 an hour naturopath-slash-psychic, we should give their words the attention it deserves.
  • segacs
    segacs Posts: 4,599 Member
    Frankly, if a celebrity deigns to share the wisdom they've gleaned from their $10,000 an hour naturopath-slash-psychic, we should give their words the attention it deserves.

    Yep. Exactly. In other words, zero.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,917 Member
    ...I don't know when The Guardian decided to get serious about dispelling pseudoscience, but I like it.

    Look up Ben Goldacre :)

    He got his dead cat the same qualifications as 'Dr' Gillian McKeith (that bug eyed, poo bothering, dessicated shyster):

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/feb/12/advertising.food

    His departed moggy is as qualified as she is to hand out nutritional advice.

    That was just beautiful.
  • Wiseandcurious
    Wiseandcurious Posts: 730 Member
    ...I don't know when The Guardian decided to get serious about dispelling pseudoscience, but I like it.

    Look up Ben Goldacre :)

    He got his dead cat the same qualifications as 'Dr' Gillian McKeith (that bug eyed, poo bothering, dessicated shyster):

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/feb/12/advertising.food

    His departed moggy is as qualified as she is to hand out nutritional advice.

    That was an awesome read, thank you!