"Super" is the new trend, but is it just that—a trend? Our health editor-at-large, Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., CNS, weighs in on popular foods and products to tell you if the added “super” ingredients make your purchase worth the money.
“It’s great to have yogurt, but it’s more important that it’s lower in fat and lower in sugar than if it has acai or blueberries in it,” she says. Read your ingredients—blueberries and acai aren’t in the top five for Yoplait’s Yo-Plus Acai Blueberry yogurt, so you probably won’t benefit from them.
Omega Peanut Butter
“There’s a lot of evidence that omega-3 [fatty acids] are good for heart health," says Fernstrom. "The problem to adding it to different foods is how much of it is actually there that is going to make a difference.” Smart Balance's Omega peanut butter is still great for protein, but don’t eat it specifically for the benefits of omega-3. The best way to get your omega-3 is through foods that naturally have it like salmon or walnuts.
Cereal With Green Tea
“This is sort of the worlds-colliding type of superfood," says Fernstrom. "Kashi's Heart to Heart cereal contains green tea, but why don’t you just drink green tea [to get the benefits of it]?” To add something that’s not naturally found in a product can be okay, but you’re not looking for that in cereal. It’s more important to look for something that’s low in sugar and high in fiber.
Soy Joy Bars
“It’s a nice mini-protein bar," Fernstrom says. "There’s nothing that is particularly health-promoting about these, nor is it a bad choice.” Only eat foods with superfood ingredients because you really enjoy them. If you’re eating them for the "super" benefits, the only thing you’re getting from it is extra calories.