Background info on Voedingscentrum
For the non-Dutch readers some background info on the Voedingscentrum: the “Voedingscentrum | Honest about food” is a primarily by government financed organisation that proclaims to be “the Dutch authority that offers consumers scientifically valid and independent information about a healthy, safe and more sustainable nutritional choice”. It is questionable if their information is truly based on scientific information instead of an opinion and if they are that independent if they say they are though. Hence that major sponsors are a.o. Unilever, Kellog’s and Smith’s.
Voedingscentrum’s sponsor Smith’s ingredient list. A healthy choice, Voedingscentrum?
Voedingscentrum promotes additives that cause symptoms?
The above image shows some of the ingredients in Smith’s potato chips. Yep, Smith’s, one of Voedingscentrum’s sponsors. As you can see it contains a long list of ingredients, among which flavor enhancer 621 (a.k.a. E-621, Ve-tsin and monosodium glutamate). E-621 is a synthetic flavor enhancer that can be found in most salty snacks. The use of E-621 is allowed in consumer foods by the European Union and Food and Drug Administration, although it has been linked to a long list of symptoms, among which headaches, pericranial muscle tenderness, elevation of Systolic blood pressure (measurement of the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) (1) and causing damage to the hypothalamic regulation of appetite, which “thereby determines the propensity of world-wide obesity” (2).
With Smith’s being one of its major sponsors, you would expect that the Voedingscentrum stands behind the ingredients Smith’s is using. I find that quite weird. As there have been so many symptoms linked to E-621 (and this is just one ingredient and product I have mentioned here), why would you want to be sponsored by such brand as an authority in the field of health and nutrition?
Voedingscentrum’s press release: Superfoods don’t excist
It won’t be a surprise that I am not very fond of the Voedingscentrum (this is just my opinion: I motivate you to àlways do your own research, form your own opinion and make your own conclusions). When I saw a news article that covered the Voedingscentrum opinion about superfoods (in a nut shell: superfoods don’t excist), I thought I’d share my opinion about superfoods, as superfoods can be found a lot on my website.
My thoughts about superfoods
I certainly believe that superfoods are a perfect way to supplement your diet with highly nutritious foods. Chiaseeds contain a lot of calcium and omega 3 for instance. Adding chiaseeds to your oatmeal in the morning is therefore a good way to make your oatmeal more nutrient-rich. The same counts for your smoothie: adding a little bit of maca makes your healthy smoothie even healthier! Stating it like this, I don’t fully agree that superfoods don’t exist. After all: chiaseeds and maca in your smoothie/oatmeal are a much healthier choice than a bowl of Kellog’s Honey Loops!
Is superfoods a marketing term? Yes. It is an easy way for brands to market their products, as the term is extremely popular right now. It is too bad that a good old broccoli, carrot or tomato are not as sexy as chiaseeds or gojiberries and therefore would never be marketed as superfood, as these should be considered as superfoods as well, considering their high nutritional value. See? Superfoods do exist, we just don’t notice them anymore when they don’t have the label ‘superfood’.
As it comes to superfoods, my advice would be to continue using them, but not instead of a healthy, varied, balanced diet. It makes no sence to think you’re good having pizza every day, as long as you take your superfoods.
* I will continue using superfoods, but don’t overdo it.
* A balanced diet is key: I don’t solely live on superfoods.
* Variation is another key. I vary my superfoods.
* Foods that don’t carry the term superfood can be highly nutritious as well. An example of these foods are tomatoes, carrots and broccoli. I make sure I eat enough of these and vary them as well.
What is your opinion about superfoods?
Note: it is by far not my purpose to bring the Voedingscentrum in bad daylight. This post is just my opinion.