A few weeks ago I made this post on my Instagram comparing white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Turns out, they're not so different and both have benefits making them worth including in your food plan. But, in my experience, sweet potatoes have been hyped as a "superfood", and worth picking over white potatoes every time. So, now that the real facts have been clarified, is the hype behind other so-called "superfoods" real?! Let's explore...
The claim is that Superfoods (like kale, quinoa, coconut oil, spirulina, blueberries, etc.) are worth picking over alternatives every time.
And, let's be honest, kale isn't for everyone...
The reality is that there is so much more to it, and that the whole picture of one's intake is what is important for determining the impact and value of so-called Superfoods.
Equally, it is still possible to eat "too much" of these superfoods and cause adverse body composition changes if you are eating in a caloric excess.
Now, don't get me wrong, many Superfoods are healthy and are worth including in your food plan in reasonable amounts, but they are just not the be-all-end-all food choices that some people claim them to be.
My advice: Next time you hear about any kind of "magic" food, do a little research (or ask me to do it for you!) to better understand the value of that food and compare it to others like it. Check in on the nutrition facts, the vitamins/minerals it contains, how it might fit into your tastes or food plans, and then decide if it's worth including for you!
Try not to listen to blanket statements like, "Always eat sweet potatoes over white potatoes" without any background or supporting information! Get clarity and then make your choices!
(And, of course, drink your water, aim to get 0.7g of protein per pound of body weight, eat 3-4 servings of fruits or veggies per day, and monitor your treat and alcohol intake.)
Now, just for fun, let's look at another Superfood claim in comparison to a peer food:
Quinoa vs. White Rice
White Rice (1 cup, cooked)
High in Vitamin B6, Folate, Thiamin, Niacin, Iron, and Selenium
*The lower fiber might be beneficial for people with digestive issues, white rice can be beneficial for people looking to gain weight or athletes looking for easily-digestable carbs, and rice is significant in various cultures. However, it's easy to overeat because its caloric content can add up quickly.
Quinoa (1 cup, cooked)
High in Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese
*Quinoa's higher protein content can be beneficial for plant-based eaters, can be more filling due to its higher fiber content, and it's naturally gluten-free!
Both white rice and quinoa are Resistant Starches, which are carbohydrates that resist digestion in the small intestine and ferment in the large intestine. As the fibers ferment, they act as a prebiotic and feed the good bacteria in the gut. Which is a good thing!!
Similar to the sweet potato vs. white potato conversation, white rice and quinoa have comparable caloric and macronutrient profiles, each contain important vitamin and mineral content, so it really depends on your personal goals, tastes, how these foods fit for you culturally, and how they impact your digestion. So, now that you know, make the choice that makes more sense for you!
What other superfoods have you heard of that you'd like clarification on?
Have you ever heard blanket statements like “Always pick sweet potatoes”?
Share in the comments and let me know!
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