Superfoods have long been said to clear up your skin, help you sleep better and give you massive doses of energy. Banking on their powers, we’ve totally used this important health info as inspiration to fill our diet with magic foods, concocting recipes with Pinterest’s top superfoods (hello, turmeric milk and marbled matcha cheesecake). That is, until we came across a recent article that claims superfoods don’t actually exist. Wait, what?

Grocery shopping

The recent article published by New York Magazine references an Australian nutritionist’s testimonial in New Scientist. The go-to guru, Duane Mellor, says that the term “superfood” is nothing more than a “marketing gimmick” used to make you THINK a food has reached an elite level in terms of health benefits. “Despite thousands of websites and lifestyle articles devoted to superfoods, there is hardly any published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals,” New Scientist published in an earlier, separate piece. “What is out there is, more often than not, industry-funded, published in alternative health journals and too eager to jump to scientifically questionable conclusions.” The scientific bottom line: A real superfood simply hasn’t been proven to exist.

As if learning that “superfood” may be nothing more than a buzzword isn’t enough of a bummer, a nearly 10-year-old European Union policy points to international skepticism of the “superfood” claim. Turns out that the EU actually bans food companies from using terms to market a food as “super” on labels unless they have research to back it up. Whoa.


Though the US clearly doesn’t have the same set of rules, there IS a bit of good news here. While some of the normally healthy foods touted to be “super” might not actually be superior, the upside is that many other healthy foods are EQUALLY beneficial for your bod. And we definitely haven’t heard anyone debating the health benefit of fruit, berries, seeds and veggies. Until (if ever) we get EU-like marketing regulations, keep making those informed decisions, US consumers. Another broccoli bowl, anyone?

Which healthy foods are your favorites? Tweet ’em to us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty, h/t New York Magazine)