So many want to believe that:
- “Goji Berries will help me lose weight”
- “Green Tea improves metabolism”
- “Chia Seeds will make me healthy”
Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that are believed to help health, weight loss, or well being. Superfoods are the best of the best of fruits, veggies, berries, or nuts. And in the US we loveeee superfoods.
Mintel GNPD (Global New Products Database) reveals that between 2011 and 2015, there was a phenomenal 202% increase globally in the number of new food and drink products launched containing the terms “superfood”, “superfruit” or “supergrain”.
And it seems there is no end to the popularity of these so called wonder foods. In 2015, the US played host to the most “super” food and drink launches (30%), followed by Australia (10%), Germany (7%), the UK (6%) and Canada (6%).
And each year, we seem to discover more and more of them. Here are highlights from the past 5 years:
Goji, Acerola Cherry, Acai Berries
Turmeric, Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds
Kelp, Black Garlic, Hemp Seeds
Dark Chocolate, Coconut Flour, Chaga Tea
Seaweed, Black beans, and Maca
Why we loveeeeeeee the superfoods?
In the past couple of years, Americans have become more health conscious. We are more mindful of the way we raise our meets, farm our fruits and vegetables, and how pre-packaged foods are processed.
Organic foods sales hit a record $43.3 billion dollars in sales in 2015.
The biggest categories of sales are:
- Organic fruits and vegetables - $14.4 billion (+10.5% from 2014)
- Dairy - $6.0 billion (+15% from 2014)
- Organic snacks - $2.3 billion (+14% from 2014)
We still have a BIG problem
It is very encouraging to see Americans care about the quality of their food, but there is still a major problem here: Most people have no idea how to eat.
We all want to be healthy. We all want to feel healthy. We all want to be happy when we look in the mirror. But does getting that salad covered in chia seeds and goji berries at lunch help you get healthier? Does it help you trim that spare tire? Does it relieve the anxiety of clothes shopping?
The answer is most likely NO.
We all learned it backwards
Growing up, I was always a heavy kid. And everyone I knew always had an opinion on how I should lose weight. The problem that as a kid and young adult, I listened to everyone:
- Don’t eat rice
- Eat more vegetables
- Don’t eat chips
- Don’t eat ice cream
The classic way that we are taught to be “healthy” or “take care of your body” is to avoid, avoid, avoid “x” or eat more, more, more of “y”. The idea that you can avoid food or solve your problem by eating more of one thing is a setup for failure. At some point, you will have to learn how to manage what goes onto your plate or it will eat you alive (just figuratively).
The only thing that avoiding food will lead to is:
- A love/hate relationship the scale (I still get anxious when I get on the scale)
- A love/hate relationship with a certain food (mine was pizza)
- Constantly trying to “clean up” your diet
- Eating well from Monday - Friday and binging on Saturday and Sunday
- Never being happy with your body
- Having cravings so intense you can’t control yourself
- Feeling guilty when you eat that one thing you know you shouldn’t
When I created Nutribuild, I began teaching a method that is the opposite of everything I was told or read from the time I was age 5 to age 30.
Everything I tried hadn’t worked, because I didn’t understand the proper hierarchy.
There is a distinct hierarchy to losing weight, and, I would argue for overall general health. Sadly, the nutrition industry teaches, touts, and markets this concept in reverse. This is a classic case of the business of nutrition being more important than actual nutrition.
Superfoods represent the smallest part and least significant part of the hierarchy for weight loss. But this gets lost in the urgency, blaring ads, and hundreds of articles that make you believe if you are not eating kale, you are missing out on significant health and weight loss benefits.
If you want to lose weight, it is actually rather simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it's simple.
Time to re-prioritize
Step 1: Eat the right amount of food
- Caloric balance is the biggest and most important component of weight loss. Nailing this down is essential. Without it, nothing else matters. You must eat the right amount of food first before your metabolism to function properly.
Step 2: Eat the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat
- Macronutrient balance is second in importance. Having a balance of protein, carbs, and fat is important, but do not split hairs over this.
- Use these as general guidelines:
- No single macronutrient should account for less than 20% of your total daily calories
- No single macronutrient should account for more than 40% of your total daily calories.
Step 3: Worry about micronutrients, food quality, and salt
- Once those first two elements are taken care of, then worry about micronutrients. This is when you can worry about your veggie intake, step up your food to organic, non-gmo, or grass fed, and worry about how much salt you are eating.
Before you have a heart attack
I know what you are reading is contrary to most of what you have been told. But if what you have been told doesn’t work, trying it one more time won’t miraculously make it work. I promise, I’ve been there, I’ve done that.
You can eat as much kale as you’d like. It won’t hurt you, but it won’t melt stubborn pounds. This is part of my huge beef with the nutrition industry that manipulates people into buying products they will only use once or don’t really need.
But you before you start thinking “Joe Nissim is an idiot, he says eating vegetables is stupid,” let me make it clear what I am saying:
In order to lose weight and for general health, there is a distinct and clear hierarchy of what matters.
If you go against the hierarchy, you are leaving yourself susceptible to continued issues with food, not losing weight, and health problems that stem from not eating properly.
I am not saying don’t eat broccoli and whole foods, I too like to poop and have nice skin, but the focus needs to shift from just eating “tons of healthy stuff” to eating the right amount for your body.
As dense in nutrients as superfoods are, in reality they have little to no influence on your body composition and less of an impact on general health then they are advertised.
As anything else in life, do the bigs things right and the rest will follow.
Ready to do the big things right? Join me and the Strengthlete Nation at www.strengthlete.com/#jump.