Ever see one of those extremely useful lists of superfoods? Of course you have. A new one pops up somewhere every 8 minutes or so, thus making it pretty impossible to avoid.
But, if you somehow haven’t seen this before, let me fill you in on what you’ve been missing.
“Superfood” is a term given to a select few extra special foods that are considered to be infinitely better for you than all other foods. From improved health and disease prevention to burning fat and helping you lose weight faster, these superfoods are clearly THE KEY to every beneficial physical improvement we want to make to our bodies and should therefore be a part of our diets.
With this scientifically proven fact in mind, I’ve spent the last 6 months rigorously reviewing hundreds of these types of lists and carefully researching every single food and their countless benefits.
Why? To provide you with the ultimate compilation of lists containing the absolute best, most amazing, most beneficial, most effective, most important, most healthy and of course most super superfoods in the entire history of the planet.
So, without any further ado, here are those lists…
The Top 5 Foods That Cause Fat Loss
The 4 Best Foods For Building Muscle
The 8 Weirdest And Most Effective Superfoods
The 5 Most Unhealthy Foods That Are Making You Fat
The 4 Secret Foods That Burn Belly Fat
The 19 Most Amazing Ideas For Idiots To Write Shitty Articles About
Wait… What Just Happened?!?
Oh, my bad. Was that not quite what you were expecting? Hmm. That’s odd. I wonder why that is?
Ohhh, that’s right. Because superfoods are fucking bullshit.
You see, back here in reality…
- There is no single food that will cause you to lose fat.
- There is no single food that will prevent you from gaining fat.
- There is no single food that will cause you to build muscle.
- There is no single food that will make you healthy.
- There is no single food that will prevent or cure a disease.
- There is no single food that will make up for an inadequate overall diet or workout program.
And no, there is no combination of different supposedly “special” foods that you can include together in your diet that will make any of these things happen, either.
The truth is, you could scour the Earth to locate every superfood that has ever been included on every one of these stupid useless lists and then proceed to consume all of them every single day for the rest of your life. And guess what?
You could still very easily be a fat (even obese… even morbidly obese), un-muscular, unhealthy person with numerous diseases and medical issues.
But How Could This Be?!?
How could this be, you ask?
Because a true “superfood” by the definition typically implied by its usage does not actually exist.
“Superfood” isn’t a scientific term. It’s not even a nutritional term. It’s a marketing term.
It exists for the sole purpose of grabbing your attention so that you’ll click through to a website, read an article, open an email, buy a magazine, buy a product, stay tuned in to your local news report, watch the latest episode of Dr. Oz, or navigate through one of those torturous fucking slideshow lists that force you to load the next page in order to view the next useless item on the list, thus increasing the number of ad impressions served, thus increasing the amount of money being made off of your dwindling patience and the fact that you’ve been tricked into believing in superfoods.
Or, some other similarly guaranteed waste of your time and/or money.
Above all else, THAT is what a “superfood” truly is, and THAT is what it’s truly there to do.
I Don’t Believe You!
That’s fine. But I want to help change that.
To accomplish this, let’s take a look at what I consider to be the 4 biggest claimed benefits of various supposed superfoods:
- It burns fat.
- It helps you lose weight.
- It builds muscle.
- It’s healthy, provides some sort of very significant health benefit, and/or contains a high amount of a specific nutrient that is healthy/provides some sort of very significant health benefit.
Now let’s go through each of these claims one by one…
1. It Burns Fat
The one and only thing that causes fat loss is a caloric deficit. That’s it.
Consume fewer calories than your body requires to maintain its current weight (aka a “caloric deficit”) and your stored body fat will be burned as the alternative fuel source.
So despite the amazing claims you’ll see for some of the foods on these lists, not a single one of them will burn fat. There’s nothing present in any food that is remotely “super” enough to magically cause you to lose fat without that required deficit being present. And when that deficit IS present? It’s still not the superfood that’s causing your fat loss. It’s the deficit itself.
In fact, as long as that deficit exists, you can eat anything you want (not recommended, just making a point) and you’d still lose weight just fine.
Yes, you can literally eat a diet comprised almost entirely of junk food – for example, Twinkies – and you’d still lose weight just fine as long as that caloric deficit exists.
Don’t believe me? Look no further than Mark Haub, the professor of nutrition at Kansas State University who followed a diet just like this (The Twinkie Diet) to prove this exact point, and lost 27lbs in 2 months.
Does this mean Twinkies are a superfood? No. It means a deficit alone is what causes fat loss, regardless of the foods being eaten.
The reverse version of this is true, too.
If you maintain your current weight eating 2000 calories per day (just a random example), and you eat more than this amount – let’s say 2500 calories – you will gain weight regardless of what those calories are. So whether it’s 2500 calories worth of Twinkies or 2500 calories worth of magical superfoods, you’re still going to gain body fat.
Because the specific foods you eat are not what dictates whether you lose weight or gain weight, or burn fat or not burn fat. It’s the total amount of calories you eat that is solely responsible for that.
2. It Helps You Lose Weight
Alright then, what about foods that can at least HELP you lose weight?
Well, that would depend on your definition of the word “help.”
If you mean foods that are going to burn fat, the answer is of course no.
If you mean foods that are even remotely close to being something like this, the answer is still no.
You’re going to have to take your definition of “help” down quite a few notches before you get a “yes” out of me.
How far down exactly?
Well, if you mean foods that are more filling than other foods and are therefore more likely to help you control your hunger and prevent you from eating more calories than you should be, then yes.
Protein and fiber are the nutrients playing the largest role in this regard, so foods containing good amounts of them would in fact be helpful to someone trying to lose weight.
But, here’s the thing.
The key to getting these benefits is much less about the specific foods, and much more about eating a sufficient total amount of protein and fiber per day and ideally consuming a meaningful amount of each at each meal.
And even though a typical superfoods list might contain 1 or 2 foods fitting this “high protein” or “high fiber” description – thus making them appear to truly be special – the reality is that there are dozens upon dozens of foods that can provide the protein and fiber you need to play this beneficial role in your diet.
So whether you eat the particular foods mentioned on some list or avoid those foods completely in favor of any of the countless other foods or combinations of foods that can provide similar amounts of protein and fiber… the end result would be exactly the same, and the same benefits would be present.
The Thermic Effect Of Food
Let’s see, how about a second definition of “helping” you lose weight? Okay.
If your definition of “help” means a food that can naturally burn more calories than other foods during digestion, then yes. We have another winner.
Your body burns calories during the digestion process. This is known as the Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF). It just so happens that protein has a higher thermic effect than fat and carbs, thus meaning that eating more protein will cause your body to naturally burn more calories per day during digestion.
But here’s the thing again. There are dozens upon dozens of foods that contain moderate to high amounts of protein which a person can eat to reach the sufficient total amount of protein they require each day to get these benefits.
It’s not any one particular food that does it. No single high protein food is “super.” It’s the total protein intake itself that is truly super in this scenario, and there are endless food options available for getting that protein.
How about a third definition?
If your definition of “help” means a food that can prevent you from losing muscle mass while you lose fat (so maybe not really helping you lose weight, but rather helping ensure the weight you lose is fat instead of muscle), then yes. This is another winner.
Protein just so happens to play the key dietary role in preserving lean mass (aka muscle) when a person is in a caloric deficit for the purpose of losing weight. Eat a sufficient amount of protein each day, and more of the “weight” you lose will be body fat rather than muscle.
But… here’s the thing.
Once again, it’s not the food(s) you get the protein from. It’s your total overall protein intake itself that provides these benefits.
And as I’ve already repeated and have no problem repeating again, there are dozens and dozens of foods/combinations of foods that you can eat to reach the sufficient total protein intake you need to make this happen. Whether or not that total is reached by eating the superfood someone included on some list for this exact purpose just doesn’t matter at all. Not even a little.
Another Fun Thing To Keep In Mind
Do you know what I love?
When some diet guru encourages people to eat more superfoods because they contain “this” and “that” and have high amounts of “this” and are very rich in “that” and all of these things will help them burn fat easier and lose weight faster and blah blah blah blah blah.
So now, the average fat person who needs to lose 20-100lbs sees this recommendation and instantly adds a bunch of walnuts, dark chocolate, blueberries and red wine (all of which are foods commonly found on these lists) to their diet to get more “antioxidants” and “healthy fats” and other magical nutrients with no regard for the hundreds of additional calories these “superfoods” will also be providing.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
In this type of scenario (which I bet happens a lot more than anyone realizes), not only are superfoods NOT helping a person lose weight, they’re actually doing the opposite: adding on to the person’s preexisting calorie intake and thus potentially preventing them from losing weight or, even better, causing them to gain additional weight.
3. It Builds Muscle
A superfood that builds muscle?
Umm… unless that superfood is a fortune cookie that you can crack open to reveal a little piece of paper that contains the details of where you can get yourself some steroids, there is no such thing.
There also isn’t a single food that will have any remotely meaningful “testosterone boosting” effect, just in case you’re wondering. That’s horseshit.
The only thing that builds muscle is a sufficient overall diet (namely a caloric surplus and sufficient total protein) and an intelligently designed workout program built around creating progressive overload. I cover all of this in detail in Superior Muscle Growth.
4. It’s Healthy
And finally, we have health.
I think I can kill this one in… let’s say… three points.
First, I’m not doubting for a second that many of the foods on these types of lists are indeed “healthy” when looked at as a single food standing on its own.
I mean, on paper, I’m sure each of these individual foods are as high in whatever “healthy” nutrients they are claimed to be high in. You won’t get much disagreement from me on that.
The problem, however, is that the nutritional content of a single food is virtually meaningless in the context of someone’s overall diet.
Let me give you an example.
Think of the most super superfood of them all. Got it? Good.
Now add it into the diet of someone who eats like shit.
You know… the typical terrible diet many overweight and/or unhealthy people have. One that involves eating an excessive amount of calories (aka a caloric surplus… the sole cause of fat gain), excessive amounts of sugar (in the form of soda, cookies, candy, pastries, etc.), excessive amounts of sodium (coming via fast food, chips, etc.), excessive amounts of alcohol, lacking in fruits and vegetables, and on and on and on.
Now 99% of their diet is still terrible, and the other 1% is this amazing superfood.
Do you think they are suddenly going to become healthier now? Literally any degree healthier?
No. No they won’t.
That special food will have no meaningful effect whatsoever, other than perhaps making this person falsely believe they did something that improved their diet (they didn’t), which is something that is going to make them healthier (it won’t), which in turn makes them think things are now better (they’re not), which prevents them from actually doing the things they need to be doing to actually make those improvements (bingo).
Because THAT’S what the entire concept of superfoods makes people think… that they can eat their usual diet of shit and then have some blueberries or some broccoli every so often and it will somehow magically counteract all of the bad and make some kind of positive difference to their health.
That’s just not how it works.
The second point I’d like to make involves just how not-super these supposed superfoods really are, even the ones that contain all of the amazing “healthy” nutrients they are supposed to contain.
To make this point, let me tell you about a very short email exchange I had with someone years ago.
This was back when the acai berry was first gaining popularity as the newest most amazing miracle food on Earth.
In trying to convince me that this was a food that EVERYONE NEEDED TO EAT if they wanted to be as healthy as possible, this person went on and on about how high the acai berry is in antioxidants.
This, of course, is true. The acai berry IS high in antioxidants.
“But do you know what else is high in antioxidants?” I asked.
“Every other fucking berry.”
And damn near every other fruit and vegetable. And nut and seed. And bean and egg.
The same could be said for [insert any other vitamin, mineral or micronutrient] in [insert any other superfood].
“Wow!! Did you know Superfood X contains a lot of Nutrient Z?!? It’s so amazing!!”
Yes it is, until you realize that a hundred other foods do as well. And so do thousands of combinations of other foods.
There is never anything remotely special about the one food some idiot writer decided to put on their useless list, except for the fact that this was the one food this idiot writer decided to put on their useless list.
Remember “The Twinkie Diet” from the example I gave earlier? The point-proving junk-food-filled diet that professor Mark Haub ate for 2 months to show that a caloric deficit was the sole cause of fat loss, regardless of the foods providing those calories?
Remember how he lost 27lbs during that time?
I bet you’re wondering what else happened during that time… in terms of his overall health.
Haub’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.
So, let’s see.
He ate Twinkies. He lost weight. A variety of his health markers improved.
Does this mean Twinkies are the most super-duper-bestest superfood of all time?
Or does it simply mean that a caloric deficit is the sole cause of fat loss – not any supposed magical foods themselves – and losing a bunch of body fat as a result of that caloric deficit happens to improve virtually every health factor there is?
I’ll let you figure out that answer yourself.
Ah, screw it… [spoiler alert!!]… it’s the second one.
My point? In the context of someone’s overall diet, there is not a single food that is capable of making someone healthy or unhealthy, even if that food has “healthy” or “unhealthy” nutritional properties.
You can eat blueberries everyday and still be an overweight person with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, or you can eat Twinkies everyday while losing 27lbs and improving the health markers that prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
It’s your overall diet that makes these things happen. Not the inclusion or exclusion of a single “good,” “bad,” or even “super” food within that diet.
But I NEED Something Super To Strive For!
I know, I know.
That’s a big part of what makes the concept of superfoods so appealing. It’s the idea that there is something you can easily do that will be extremely beneficial to the way your body looks, feels and functions. And “eat the foods on this list” is as easy and appealing as it gets.
Unfortunately (and perhaps disappointingly to many people), it’s a concept built on bullshit.
That’s the bad news.
The good news, however, is that there IS indeed something super for you to strive for after all.
Granted, it’s not going to be nearly as appealing as a pretty list of foods. And no, it’s not going to be quite as easy as that pretty list of foods, either.
But, the important difference here is that, unlike superfoods, this thing is real.
As in… really real.
And completely legit.
And absolutely-positively-guaranteed to have a significant beneficial effect on the way your body looks, feels and functions.
In fact, it will have THE most beneficial effect possible.
It’s something I call a super lifestyle.
And guess what? I’ll even present it to you with a pretty list of its own.
The Super Lifestyle List
Super lifestyles are comprised of the following:
- A super diet, the kind that is designed around allowing you to consume the total amount of calories, macronutrients, micronutrients and water that you need to support your specific goals and overall health, all of which is put together in whatever way is most preferable, enjoyable, convenient and sustainable for you as possible. #PECS (My free diet guide covers everything: The Best Diet Plan)
- A super workout, the kind that is designed with your specific training needs and goals in mind, built around the proven fundamentals of what is optimal for reaching those goals. (My free weight training guide covers everything: The Ultimate Weight Training Routine)
- A super sufficient amount of sleep and sleep quality, ideally in the range of 7-9 hours per night.
- A super minimization of stress.
- A super use of supplementation to eliminate nutrient deficiencies that you are unable to eliminate through diet alone (common examples include omega-3s and vitamin D).
- A super use of moderation when it comes to the things truly warranting a sane-yet-still-enjoyable amount of moderation (e.g. alcohol, sugar, etc.).
- A super avoidance of things that truly warrant being avoided as completely as possible (e.g. smoking, trans fat, etc.).
- Super habits that ensure everything on this list is put into action.
- Super consistency with those habits.
- And if you want to go even further, super amounts of laughter (it’s good for you), sex (it’s also good for you), happiness, fun, doing more of the things you love and less of the things you hate, and on and on and on.
If you want your body to look, feel and function as well as it is capable of looking, feeling and functioning… THEN THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
No amount of lists of magical foods is going to do it, no amount of magical foods on those lists is going to do it, and no one specific thing of any kind is going to do it.
That’s just not how this works.
What you want here, or really… what we ALL want here… is something that can only be achieved when everything on this list comes together for the long term.
Not just some of the things. And not just for a short term period of time.
That’s what it’s going to take.
And superfoods? Yeah. The only thing superfoods are doing is adding to the never-ending list of things that distract people from the super lifestyle they should be focusing on.
Don’t be one of those people.