Superfoods: Can They Actually Pose a Health Risk?

Assorted Fresh Vegetables

Superfood is a marketing phrase for foods that are said to have remarkable nutritional density and thus provide health benefits.

Are superfoods really that super?

A healthy diet is important for many individuals. Whether it’s quinoa, chia seeds, or goji berries, 48% of people believe that these often promoted “superfoods” are a necessary component of a healthy diet. They are said to have health-promoting qualities, and some are even credited with helping to avoid illnesses.

“The range of so-called superfoods is wide, but there is no scientific or legal definition of the term,” says BfR President Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel. “In our event, we will take a closer look at the scientific assessment of these foods and discuss the risk perception of the population.”

“Many so-called superfoods are offered and advertised — often via the internet — with sometimes untenable promises,” says BVL President Friedel Cramer.

“In such cases, but especially when products could pose a health risk, competent authorities are called upon. How we proceed and what challenges there are will be highlighted by experts at the two-day event.”

There is a wide variety of foods marketed as “superfoods” Instead of risks, the majority of people identify them with health benefits. Superfoods are generally plant-based foods with high concentrations of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, or secondary plant compounds. Additionally, food supplements that include botanicals or other ingredients thought to be healthy are frequently marketed as superfoods. Contrary to common opinion, these foods especially in concentrated form may also pose health risks.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety analyzed superfoods in a recent meeting. In addition to the scientific assessment of foods promoted as superfoods, they also discussed risk perception and regulatory aspects. The overall focus was on consumer health protection.

Meeting: Super(?)foods and Supplements – Risky or Healthy?


View Comments

  • 1) Stop relying on media
    2) Realize all marketing hype is B.S.
    3) Use common sense
    4) Eat a healthy, balanced diet that your grandmother taught you, not what a Warren Buffet (or other magnate) subsidary tells you.

  • Click bait title. Cmon folks! Say what it is. Science nerds appreciate it.
    Title should be conference to discuss superfoods dangers. This is misleading for sure.

  • Yes, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables are what is dangerous, stick with factory meat, GMO's and other processed foods. Our bodies were made for the added chemicals.

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

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