10 nutrition buzzwords

Nutrition buzz (photo by Mari Smith via Flickr)

Nutrition buzzwords sell products.  Once consumers hear just a little positive news about a topic, a buzzword is born.  The facts may not justify the buzz, but that doesn’t stop marketers from making good use of buzzwords to sell food products.  Not too long ago, popular buzzwords included vitamin C, vitamin E, soy and “fat free”.  Times have changed.  Here are 10 currently popular buzzwords, in no particular order:

  1. Omega-3: yes omega-3 fats are important, but exactly how much omega-3 does that bread or milk contain?  And in what form?
  2. Probiotics: there are literally millions of bacteria types that might inhabit human digestive tracts.  Just because it’s a bacteria doesn’t mean it has a health benefit.
  3. Fiber: humans have evolved to handle the fiber found naturally in plant foods.  But the “fiber” that’s extracted from novel plants and then blended into yoghurt or beverages or protein bars?
  4. Protein: excess protein doesn’t make you thin or confer any health advantage.  Plus it’s environmentally wasteful.
  5. Vitamin D: yes we need it.  Get tested and boost intake accordingly, if necessary.
  6. Energy: energy comes from calories.  Period.  If a food or drink claims to be free of calories but still provide energy, it’s a joke.
  7. Gluten free: a small number of people can’t handle gluten.  They have celiac disease.  A large number of people have decided to self-diagnose gluten “intolerance” for other reasons.  There is no health benefit to avoiding gluten if you don’t have the disease.
  8. Pomegranate: research that supposedly proves miraculous health benefits is typically funded by pomegranate producers.  Adding pomegranate to soft drinks or junk food does not make them healthy.
  9. Acai: if it’s such a weight loss miracle, where are the thin people?
  10. Multigrain: it only means more than one type of grain ingredient is present.  That could mean white flour and cornmeal or oats.  Does not mean whole grain.

At the end of the podcast, I’ve got a great idea for a summer-friendly food product that has all 10 of those buzzwords on the package.

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