Are superfoods really that super?
A healthy diet is important to many individuals. Whether it’s quinoa, chia seeds or goji berries, 48% of people believe these oft-promoted “superfoods” are a necessary component of a healthy diet. They are said to have health-promoting qualities, and some are even credited with helping to ward off disease.
“The range of so-called superfoods is wide, but there is no scientific or legal definition of the term,” says BfR president Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel. “At our event, we will take a closer look at the scientific evaluation of these foods and discuss the public’s perception of risk.”
“Many so-called superfoods are offered and advertised – often over the Internet – with sometimes unsustainable promises,” says BVL President Friedel Cramer.
“In such cases, but especially when the products may pose a risk to health, the competent authorities are called. How we will proceed and what challenges there are, will be highlighted by experts in the two-day event.”
There is a wide variety of foods that are marketed as “superfoods.” Instead of risks, most people identify them with health benefits. Superfoods are generally plant-based foods with high concentrations of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals or secondary plant compounds. Additionally, nutritional supplements that include botanicals or other ingredients thought to be healthy are often marketed as superfoods. Contrary to popular belief, these foods, especially in concentrated form, can pose a health risk.
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety analyzed superfoods at a recent meeting. In addition to the scientific evaluation of foods promoted as superfoods, they also discussed risk perception and regulatory aspects. The overall focus was on protecting the health of consumers.