Superfood hypes give false hopes of curing cancer: Study

Superfood hypes give false hopes of curing cancer: Study

The new study, carried out by research firm YouGov, found that 11 per cent of Britons think it can prevent cancer and many believe that there are more health benefits to superfoods than eating a balanced diet.

Of those surveyed, 55 per cent were familiar with the term and of those 38 per cent believed there were additional health benefits in eating “superfoods”. However, 61 per cent admitted purchasing, eating, or drinking specific food because they had the label, the Daily Mail reported.

Of those who knew of the term 18 per cent thought that those who ate a lot of them were healthier and 21 per cent believed they could prevent cancer.

However, tests done on foods like plain popcorn and acai berries, both of which have been given anti-cancer claims, showed that they are no more beneficial than other everyday foods like dried fruit, apples and wholegrains.

Experts at Bupa, a British healthcare organisation which commissioned the study, said the term “superfood” has no scientific definition but it is often bandied around and applied to foods with a specific health benefit, giving the public a false expectation of the benefits.

“The term ‘superfood’ is misleading as there is no clear definition and many of the supposed health claims are vague or not fully substantiated,” Christina Merryfield, lead dietician at Bupa’s Cromwell Hospital, said.

“Some so-called ‘superfoods’ like pomegranate juice and almonds can be good for you as part of a balanced diet, but giving them such a heroic sounding name confuses the public and can cause worse diet choices as people mistakenly believe they can ‘undo’ the damage caused by unhealthy foods.”

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