Trendy Health Buzzwords: What Do They Really Mean?

From “all-natural” meat to bottled “detox” juices, there seem to be more confusing claims than ever when it comes to choosing healthy options. Understanding what these buzzwords mean helps you create a game plan for your food choices. And, as you’ll see, not every term lives up to its hype.

Be a smart consumer by learning the hottest words:

  1. SUPERFOOD (N.; \ˈsü-pər-füd\): As the American Heart Association notes, there are no rigid guidelines as to what classifies a “superfood.” Anything that has a good amount of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins or other nutrients tends to be fair game, which is why this term has quickly gained popularity over recent years. While in most cases, the facts live up to the hype (healthy favorites like quinoa, kale and chia seeds have all been called superfoods), that’s not always true. Just see watermelon seeds – a trendy superfood pick for 2017.
  2. ALL-NATURAL (Adj.; \ôl naCH(ə)rəl\): The Food & Drug Administration has yet to create a rule for labeling foods as “natural,” though it is looking towards coming up with a more specific set of standards. In the meantime, don’t be fooled into thinking that just because something is natural it means it’s special. For example, many meats are labeled all-natural as a way to imply they are healthier than usual.
  3. CLEAN EATING (V.; \klēn ētēng\): At the most basic level, clean eating encourages health-conscious consumers to stay away from super-processed foods containing things like refined sugars and preservatives. That sounds good, but as this diet style has gained popularity, it’s also become mired in controversy. This issue is that it can mask eating disorders or shame people who eat anything deemed “dirty.”
  4. DETOX (V.; \dētäks\): When people detox, their aim is to cleanse their body of toxins that have built up due to poor dieting. But is that really necessary? There’s little evidence that any detox plans actually purify the body and your liver is already doing the job of detoxing your body. Plus, many forms of detox are unhealthy, preventing you from getting the fats, fibers and proteins your body needs to function properly.

What other foodie words and phrases are confusing to you? Let us know and we’ll get to the bottom of them.

Photo Credit: Natalia Bulatova

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