Superfoods are packed with enough nutrients, protein, fiber, and antioxidants to set them apart from the crowd—or so the story goes. But as far as dietitians and nutritionists are concerned, the term is nothing more than a buzzword.
"There is a danger in calling any one food 'super,'" Nicci Schock, a nutritionist at Elevate by Nicci, told Prevention. "Giving those designations to foods leads the general public to discount the greater picture of what healthy is for them, and often creates an idea that one food can be a shortcut to health or weight loss."
Others, including dietitian Nanci Guest and Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald, are in agreement. Fitzgerald even goes as far as saying that trending "superfoods are just exotic enough to be more interesting" than more traditional fare. According to the trio, consider subbing out the following three subpar "superfoods" for cheaper, more nutritious, and tastier alternatives:
Kale, the same leafy green that was emblazoned across a sweatshirt proudly worn by Beyoncé, isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, Fitzgerald was quick to point out that spinach is actually more nutritious than kale: "Kale is great, especially in smoothies or baked into chips—but if you always reach for this leafy green, it might be time to mix up your nutrients."
Quinoa simply has more protein than rice—it isn't the most protein-rich grain you can possibly get your hands on. Guest actually recommends mixing it up with whole rye, bulgur, spelt, brown rice, or Farro. "None are really superior, each just provides a different profile of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients," she explains.
Contrary to what you may have read, loading up on goji berries won't necessarily make you feel calmer or more relaxed--if anything, they'll just drain your bank account. "Goji berries are very expensive and not proven to be any healthier than other berries," said Guest. "Variety is key, so get a variety of cheaper berries!"
What other superfoods do you consider overrated? Share your thoughts with us below!