Superfoods We Might Be Overeating

Thursday, 12 Nov 15

By Jaime Rose Chambers

As super as a food may be, there is no doubt we can have too much of a good thing. Overdoing it on a healthy food can have consequences for our health and may make reaching weight and health goals very difficult.

A superfood refers to a food that is very dense in a particular nutrient or antioxidant. It is also a marketing term used by food manufacturers and a recent study showed 61% of people bought a product because it was labelled a ‘superfood.’ These foods are undoubtedly, super healthy, there are however no regulatory scientific tests conducted on these foods to indicate their superfood status.

The major issues with overeating a superfood is that they tend to become a major focus in a diet, which leaves little room for other important foods and their nutrients, potentially causing deficiencies. This focus also encourages a micro-management of diet rather than looking at the big picture of a varied, balanced diet. There is often also their addition where possible into meals and snacks with the ‘the more the better’ thought, potentially adding hundreds of additional calories (and dollars) to a diet and making weight maintenance difficult. The ultimate goal: a super diet, not a superfood.

Here are some superfoods you might just be overeating:

  1. Brazil nuts – known for their super selenium content, just 4 brazil nuts will give you your day’s recommended intake. Any more than this however can be toxic with dangerous side effects.
  2. Avocado – is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre, but eat the whole avocado and you’re looking at an entire meal’s worth of calories (around 350 calories). 
  3. Chia seeds – these awesome little super seeds are high in fibre and healthy fats but 1 tablespoon that is often added to a meal or snack contains 90 calories but packs a 7.5g fibre punch, which may cause some bowel discomfort if you’re not used to it. 
  4. Quinoa – a seed touted for it’s gluten-free, super nutrient profile. The problem is that as it’s marketed as being ‘high protein’ it’s often not mentioned that it still has the same amount of carbohydrates as any other grain and therefore used liberally in meals. We’re talking 40g of carbohydrate for 1 cup cooked quinoa, the same as pasta. 
  5. Coconut – coconut oil, flakes, chips, flesh, cream, milk… it seems to be everywhere at the moment. High in medium chain triglycerides, this fat is digested and used differently in the body and is the basis of coconut’s reported health benefits. The bottom line though is that coconut is still high in saturated fats and if you’ve got high cholesterol, heart disease or a strong family history of it, it’s best to avoid using coconut on a regular basis and use other healthier oils known to be protective against heart disease like olive oil.

Next: The ‘Beef’ About Beef – The Truth About Red & Processed Meats

Previous: The Mindful Eating Movement

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