Douglas Crockford

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About

Superfood

I see lots of products labelled as superfoods. The term superfood looks like it should mean healthy, which is a desirable attribute since most of our processed food now is so unhealthy. However, superfood does not have a formal meaning. It is commonly assumed that it means one of the following:

Superfood means a complete food

Something might be a superfood if it is nutritionally complete. You can eat this one superfood and nothing else and be completely nourished and healthy. Such a food does not exist. We need variety.

Superfood means absolution

Something might be a superfood if it can reverse the damage caused by the unhealthy foods that we consume in mass quantities, so that the consequences of eating junk can be erased by the purchase of indulgences as a path to dietary absolution. Unfortunately, this form of penance does not work. The only way to avoid the harm from unhealthy food is to not eat the unhealthy food.

Superfood is healthy and nutritious

We used to have a word for things you can eat that are healthy and nutritious. The word was food. A product that is labelled today as a superfood is not necessarily healthy and nutritious, just as a product labelled as food is not necessarily healthy and nutritious.

That is where we are with the Standard American Diet, which is becoming the Standard World Diet. The word food does not really mean food anymore.

Food should mean more than just something you can stick in your mouth.