Fact or Fiction Fad Foods
Friday, 25 September 2009
With so many fad foods and supposedly super-foods out there, it can be difficult to determine what benefits us and what is just an intriguing smelling colourful drink?
The increasing demand in the health conscious market, for quick fixes and relief from our ueber-busy modern lifestyles, it hardly surprising to find an explosion of the food fads industry.
As always though, before buying the latest fad, whether it is diet, fashion or cars, it is wise to do your homework before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Here are some popular fads on the market:
This newcomer has found its way into many smoothies at your juice bar, sprouting in trays at your health store or you can get it in a dried powder form and supplements.
Claim: 30 ml shot has therapeutic properties such as cancer prevention due to chlorophyll (green pigment of plant) which is believed to be an anti-oxidant and eliminate free radical from our bodies.
Verdict: Sure, if it is unprocessed and green it will be naturally rich in nutrients. It is no different to your standard broccoli or spinach in vitamin and mineral content. Actively growing plants such as wheatgrass, harvested minutes before consumption could well have a higher level of anti-oxidants. However, the current evidence is not strong enough to support that claim. As it stands, eating a bright and fresh variety of 2 fruits and 5 veg a day will benefit your health enough to boost your anti-oxidant levels, vitamins and minerals.
Originated from the Himalayas, these little berries are becoming increasingly more popular. Also known as Wolfberries, they appear in juices, dried fruit, cereal bars, supplements or in tea tonics.
Claim: Weight-loss, anti-aging, disease fighting protection due to complex carbohydrate content (polysaccharide). Chinese medicine promotes the goji berry as improving life by increasing immunity and cancer cures. High in anti-oxidant levels, 10 times the levels of blueberries and 33 times more potent than oranges.
Verdict: Seems this berry is to good to be true. Consuming this berry will certainly increase your anti-oxidant level and contribute to your daily fruit target but it is unclear just how exactly they will react in your body in terms of the anti-oxidant levels. Currently, there is insufficient published data on these berries, hence why there is no definite claim on the effects of Goji berries. Until such evidence is available, we are all left guessing.
A popular fruit in the Middle East such as Egypt, pomegranates are increasing in popularity around the world. Getting to the edible part requires some work. Underneath the hard, thin and bitter skin are a collection of hundreds of small seeds-relative to the size of sweet corn. Up until recently, the struggle of the harvest has reduced the appeal of the fruit. This fruit has become a $90-million brand in the United States and has landed in Australia, ready for its launch.
Claim: Heart health protection. High in anti-oxidants such as polyphenols.
Verdicts: Preliminary studies have shown that pomegranate juice may also benefit cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. When drinking this juice, stick to the 100% juice variety for maximum benefits. A fruit high in polyphenols, pomegranates inhibit the oxidation of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, which contributes to the hardening of the arteries.
If you like sushi rolls, the chances are you are already consuming aquatic plants, such as nori-the seaweed sheets that wrap the sushi rolls up. Spirulina, another type of aquatic plant, has become the latest craze in the fad food industry. Spirulina contains rare gamma linolenic acid, which helps with inflammation.
Claim: detoxifying, enhancing energy levels, heart protection, increased immunity and treatment of inflammatory conditions and diseases such as auto-immune diseases.
Verdict: Again, there is no denying that aquatic plants are full of rich nutrients. The support from preliminary studies in the role in reducing blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes, cholesterol lowering and anti-inflammatory properties is encouraging. However, there is not a lot to be said in terms of appetite- satisfaction from spirulina supplements. Therefore, low-fat sushi rolls or a seaweed salad is substantial in obtaining your aquatic plant dose.