By - March 1, 2019

Superfood or super myth?


Our corporate dietitians do some debunking.

Superfoods are supposed to help with many health conditions. But are these claims true? We’ve done the research to find out.

Coconut Oil

Claims: Burns belly fat, revs up your metabolism, is heart healthy, helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and can help diabetics

Facts: Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Research into the other health claims is not conclusive. The current dietary recommendation is to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Saturated fats include coconut and palm oils, red meat, and full-fat dairy like butter. Unsaturated fats include olive, canola, sunflower and safflower oils.


Claims: Helps with arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol, skin appearance and general health

Facts: Like other berries, acai berries are full of fiber and vitamins, but you’ll probably only find these berries as a powder, capsule or smoothie ingredient. Research into the health claims is limited, and they haven’t been proven. Instead, eat fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries for their fiber and vitamins.


Claims: Helps manage inflammation, arthritis and cancer as well as stomach, skin, liver and gallbladder problems

Facts: Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow color, and the curcuminoids are thought to be the beneficial element. Additional research is needed to prove the benefits of turmeric supplements, but you can incorporate turmeric root or spice into recipes to boost color and flavor.

So, what’s the final verdict?

At the end of the day, whole foods are preferred over supplements because they have many beneficial nutrients, not just one, and those nutrients work together. So, instead of seeking out specific superfoods, eat a balanced diet with foods full of beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber. Good examples are berries, salmon, beans and legumes, greens, seeds and low-fat yogurt. The best part? You can easily find all of these at your Publix.

Publix’s corporate dietitians are registered, licensed dietitian nutritionists who help our customers and associates make better eating choices. They work with our Aprons chefs to ensure recipes meet dietary considerations and current guidelines. And they manage our Better Choice shelf tag program and wellness icons, so you can quickly find products containing more of the nutrients you need, like fiber, and less of the things you don’t need, like saturated fat, added sodium or added sugar.