Nutrition Facts/Labels and “Superfoods”


Can someone please explain to me nutrition labels and superfoods. For example I have linked photos of a yogurt I purchased recently. This is labeled as crushed superfoods. Yet the nutrition label shows almost no significant vitamins. What am I missing? Or is this just junk food in disguise?


In: Other

“Superfood” is a marketing term that can mean whatever the advertiser wants it to mean. In the case of yogurt, the health claims usually revolve around the bacterial cultures which can help some people with digestion. Those cultures do not have a line on the nutrition facts. Even “superfoods” whose claims are based on vitamin or mineral content might not be that impressive on the nutrition facts label either. Still, it’s never a bad idea to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether or not they are marketed as “super”

In addition to the fact “superfood” is a completely made up term you can use whenever you want as other commenters have mentioned, you should also consider that this is not the full nutritional information. It only lists fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. However, if we take the first listed ingredient – apple – we can find all the vitamins and nutrients contained within the product just from this one ingredient not listed on the packaging, which are: vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein zeaxanthin, thiamine, riboflavin, niacine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc, and many of these are found in higher quantities in one apple than their listed quantities of vitamin D, calcium, sodium and iron listed here for this snack. So, although marketing it as a superfood, it seems that this company has decided to use its nutritional information space to advertise how low in “bad” things it is, rather than how high in good things it is. It’s looking to appeal to the “Low bad stuff is good” crowd rather than the “high good stuff is good” crowd, possibly thinking that that second crowd will be convinced to buy it by the mention of blueberry instead (a popular “superfood” to talk about).

If you are in the U.S., welcome to the wonderful knowledge that the world of dietary knowledge and government regulation are giant piles of unspeakable filth.

Its not that the research hasn’t been done and that the data and knowledge for dietary health and requirements aren’t known.

The problem boils down to money. Food companies like money. Just like every other company. Nothing wrong with that. Its how free market economies work.

But the U.S. also has the wonderful world of special interest lobbying. You know that wonderful food pyramid that was used by the FDA for decades to educate the public on a healthy diet? Yeah, there were a lot of lobbying efforts by food industry groups to affect the end product. Its not even things you might think were all that bad, but the sole intent was to either avoid negative connotations or create positive ones. Not based on unbiased data from independent studies.

There was an entire section dedicated to dairy/milk. You can live your whole life perfectly healthy never consuming cow milk. I don’t suggest it though, shits delicious. Especially with cereal. But the addition of milk to the food pyramid sends the message that you should be consuming it.

The recommended nutritional values are pretty arbitrary too. They are based on 2,000 cal/day diet. Which is going to match very few people. A 110 lbs female has different dietary needs than a 220 lbs male.

And I can’t start ranting about the FDA without bringing up expiration dates.


That is the FDA’s own website saying that expiration dates are problematic to say the least. The ONLY expiration dates they actively monitor and regulate are the ones for infant formula.

EVERY other expiration date is managed and determined by the manufacturer. Who have a vested interest in you keeping their product on your shelf the shortest time they can convince you of so that you go back to the store and buy more.


Oh, neato fact for you. Do you know the only reason soda (like Coca-cola, Pepsi, etc.) isn’t required to be marked and transported as a Class 8 (corrosive) Hazardous Material?

CFR Title 49 Subtitle B Chapter 1 Subchapter C Part 173.307 (a) (1)

Exempts carbonated beverages from the requirements of Subchapter C. Which is the section containing ALL hazardous material requirements. So an entry under the “compressed gases” section exempts sodas from the standards for corrosives too. Otherwise your tasty soda would have to be transported and marked as HazMat. Your aluminum soda can has a thin plastic liner on the inside to keep the soda from eating through the can.

In the US the term superfood can only be used on a label if the product has been proven to do something. For instance studies have been done to prove omega 3 fatty acids are good for your heart so you can list it as a superfood.
This is from numerous university nutrition courses.

Expiration dates are created by the manufacturer but it is not arbitrary. They have to store the product for those lengths of time and prove by testing that the product is still good. This is why products that are newer on the market may have shorter expiration dates and they are lengthened later. They don’t have the data yet.
The FDA does have clear rules that must be followed for this.

Nutrition labels do not have to list all ingredients. There are something like 3000 food additives they can add without listing them. These additives are in small quantities and presumed safe because of that. Most additives were being used before regulations were created so they just said they are presumed safe because they had been in use for some time.
The term is GRAS Generally Recognized As Safe. Yes this is a real FDA term.
Things put on this list when it was created have not been tested and many are truly questionable and many definitely bad for you in large quantities. No testing has been done for long term exposure to small quantities. Things added after the list was created in 1958 have to pass different standards.
This came out, about food additives in the 1970’s and there was a big public uproar. By now most people have forgotten and eat anything, being pretty oblivious to the ingredients. People assume because they are being fed it that it is safe, when truly food can kill or cure (or neither). You choose when you buy. You just may not get the results of your choices for ten years and then it’s too late, the damage has been done, if you don’t pay attention. Most people eat fairly moderately though.
It is well known processed food is not good for you but we all eat it. This is one of the reasons for it being harmful.
Food additives are added to preserve food, to make it easier to process (like additives that make the food flow easier through the equipment for canning or bottling), to change the taste (flavorings that may come from strange sources), or to keep the taste consistent (such as having all tomato juice taste the same when natural tomatoes taste very different) .
To avoid additives buy less processed or not processed. Eat more fruits and vegetables. The many college nutrition classes I’ve taken can be boiled down to that one sentence.