MENS HEALTH – Many (so, so many!) bold new “superfoods” emphatically promise to enhance and extend your life. Here’s one man’s quest to eat (nearly!) everything and separate health from hype.
SUPERFOODS ARE, at their core, a bizarre notion. For roughly 200,000 years, normal, whole foods served as mankind’s primary source of energy—and did a very good job of it.
But during the Post-Industrial Era, some enterprising capitalist out there apparently said to his customers, This cereal also promotes brain growth! And thus we entered an age of cleverly branded mutant foods that blur the line between supplement and meal and are engineered to give you powers that a simple potato never could.
You could eat all of these vegetable-infused pastas, probiotic soft drinks, and protein bars and then bench-press your way to immortality. Who could resist such an idea?
Turns out, not many of us. Revenue in the category of “functional foods”—that’s the industry term for these products—is expected to rise by 8.5 percent every year between 2022 and 2030. By 2030, that market segment is projected to gross $586 billion.
That’s a faster rate of growth than you’d find at the beginning of a Pornhub clip, and it’s the result of our Big Food overlords noting Americans’ increasing aversion to outright junk food.
Selling functional foods as an alternative has helped keep their revenue up, and many of these products do indeed contain some healthy ingredients: chia seeds, flaxseeds, nuts, spelt, and what have you.
But exactly how functional are they? What can they do for me, a regular middle-aged man who’s historically been fond of nutritional shortcuts? I’m a guy who ate Olestra potato chips and liked them, despite knowing exactly what they would do to my body.
(A warning label on Olestra products noted that consuming the fat substitute might cause “abdominal cramping and loose stools.” It was certainly accurate on the latter.) …