Buying the hype

Every week, I see a new list of ways to “eat more and weigh less.” I’ve got no problem with this concept. After all, I’ve been helping my patients eat more and weigh less for years–which is why it’s one of the main tenets of my New Hamptons Health Revolution. The problem is, most of the OTHER lists of “ways to eat more and weigh less” that you see plastered all over the internet are getting it wrong.

Take the most recent example to invade my email inbox. They claim you can “eat more and weigh less” if you snack throughout the day and eat mostly “superfoods.”

I’ve mentioned before how I firmly believe that most people don’t need to snack at all, let alone throughout the day. In fact, recent research conducted at the University of North Carolina and published in the journal PLoS Medicine showed that this sort of “grazing” mentality can actually do more harm than good when it comes to your waistline.

Don’t get me wrong: You don’t have to give up snacking entirely if you don’t want to. You just need to learn how to snack the right way. For some helpful hints–and some specific snacks that are as indulgent as they are good for you (and your waistline)– refer back to my Reality Health Check from 9/15/2011 (4 ways to have your snack and eat it too).

In the meantime, it’s actually the other part of the recommendation–the idea that your diet should be based primarily around “superfoods”–that I want to talk about today.

This term gets thrown around a lot these days, but no one ever really explains what, exactly, a “superfood” IS. In fact, I just went to three different websites–and got three different definitions. In general, it seems like a “superfood” is something that contains a significant amount of nutrients and can supposedly benefit your health.

But in most instances, in order to get those health benefits, you’d have to eat an enormous amount of any given “superfood”–and you’d have to do it every single day.

Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose?

Look, I am all for eating healthy–it’s how I make a living and something that I do on a daily basis. But the hype and the marketing of certain foods that may or may not have any “super” benefits drives me nuts. (Actually, nuts rank at the very top of my own, personal “superfoods” list).

When you get right down to it, “superfoods” are yet another example of making things more complicated and confusing than they really need to be.

There’s a much simpler way to find foods that will truly benefit your health. In fact, there’s a simple formula you can keep in mind that will take almost all the guesswork out of it, and make healthy eating easier than you dreamed it could be. It goes like this: if the food is minimally processed, grows out of the ground, is raised to be eaten and fed an appropriate diet, or is caught in clean waters, then it is most likely as nutrient-rich as possible.

The bottom line? You don’t need to rely on overhyped “superfoods” for super health.