Which Superfoods Aren't Actually Super At All?

By Jordan Kushins on at

It's way more fun to finish off a big bar of dark chocolate when you can convince yourself it's good for you. Because c'mon, science says so… in all those random studies you've seen floating around the internet… right? Well, surprise surprise, it turns out there are a load of false facts out there regarding the health benefits of your favourite treats.

Now, the team at Information is Beautiful have visualised the scientific evidence—or lack thereof—behind what they dub Snake Oil Superfoods, breaking down hard data in an infinitely clickable format.

Each of the coloured bubbles on the page corresponds to a specific food, but also a specific claim; so, some edibles make multiple appearances on way opposite ends of the spectrum. For instance: Garlic tops the chart with strong trials supporting that it lowers blood pressure, but bottoms out with no backup that it also functions as a cancer treatment (fish oil, omega-3s, and broccoli sprouts were the only three that clocked in above the "worth taking threshold" for cancer prevention, with most other fruit and veg hovering in the "inconclusive" realm).

Which Superfoods Aren't Actually Super At All?

You can filter by health condition—think weight control, cardio, sex (which has two entries, both of which are busts)—or type of food. Poke around and see where your favourite nom-noms pop up, and you can check out the epic Google spreadsheet with all the reports the IIB gang riffled through and notes they took to come up with their findings.

It's kinda tough not to be skeptical of, well, everything you see online—these kinds of debunks included—because moderation and common sense should reign supreme. But, hey! Dark chocolate actually fares pretty well—brb, scoffing down a Bournville bar. [@PeterSokolowski]