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3 Popular Raw Superfoods That Are a Waste of Your Money

Dried goji berries

Yep, that’s right. Some so-called “superfoods” marketed to raw foodists are not so super at all. In fact, MOST raw superfoods are a complete waste of your money!

For today, let’s stick with a few of the more popular products: spirulina, hemp protein powder, and goji berries.

Hopefully you haven’t been sucked into buying these superfoods due to hype marketing and well-written sales pages.

Sorry to rub it in if you have, but the following information is for your own good. :)

#1: Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae typically sold in powder form and very popular within the raw food movement.

Cost

$30-40 per pound

What (Supposedly) Makes It So Super?

  • nutrient-dense
  • provides all of the essential amino acids
  • good source of vitamin B12

Why You Shouldn’t Buy It

Spirulina is nutrient-rich? Perhaps, but it really doesn’t matter because the recommended dose of 6-10 grams per day is tiny.

At the high end, 10 grams of spirulina contains only 2.6 mcg of vitamin K, 9.4 mcg of folate, 12 mg of calcium, and 19.5 mg of magnesium.

On the other hand, 12 ounces (340 grams) of romaine lettuce in a healthy, good-sized salad contains 348.4 mcg of vitamin k, 462.4 mcg of folate, 112.2 mg of calcium, and 47.6 mg of magnesium.

‘Nough said. 8)

So they say that spirulina is a complete protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids?

Who cares?

Your own body has the ability to store the amino acids you get from food until your cells need them. You do not need to consume each amino acid at every meal or even every day.

Besides, you can get all the protein you need—including all essential amino acids—simply by eating a variety of fruits and greens throughout the year.

Spirulina contains B12? While this is true, the B12 is in an inactive form that actually disrupts the absorption of B12 that IS active and bioavailable.

#2: Raw Hemp Protein Powder

Raw Hemp protein powder is simply a cold-pressed powder made from raw hemp seeds.

Cost

$12-20 per pound

What (Supposedly) Makes It So Super?

  • protein-rich
  • full of essential fatty acids

Why You Shouldn’t Buy It

The truth is that the human body needs very little protein. As long as you are getting enough calories from fresh fruit and eating a healthy amounts of greens, you will get enough protein.

What about EFAs? You can get those simply by eating enough fresh fruits and greens and including a minimal amount of omega-3 rich nuts and seeds in your diet.

#3: Dried Goji Berries

Goji Berries (aka Wolfberries) are a fruit grown in China. They are typically sold dried or in powder form in most health food stores and online raw food shops.

Cost

$13-30 per pound

What (Supposedly) Makes Them So Super?

  • one of the most nutritious fruits,
  • full of antioxidants,
  • anti-aging

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Them

Besides being ridiculously costly, dried goji berries are nothing special at all. They’re nothing more than dried fruit.

Extremely EXPENSIVE dried fruit! :shock:

If you really want to eat superfruits, go for FRESH produce. Fresh, whole fruit beats dried every time in both taste and nutrition.

And of course, we can’t forget about cost. Most fruits, including bananas, mangoes, grapes, peaches, oranges, apples, and pineapples, can be purchased for less than $2 per pound.

And you can likely find better prices than that if you shop around and buy in bulk.

What Say You?

What do you think about these not-so-superfoods? Do you use them? Do you shun them?

Leave your comments below! :)

Go raw and be fit,

Swayze

P.S. No over-the-top marketing here! Just a simple e-book recommendation for those interested in truly raw, truly healthy, and truly delicious raw foods recipes.

All superfood free, of course. :)

“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”

Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal

www.fitonraw.com/low-fat-raw-vegan-favorites

24 comments

1 Jand Hogue { 06.09.11 at 5:11 pm }

Swayze, thank you for your honesty. I haven’t researched it yet but everything you said makes sense so I passed it along in twitter.
Take Care
Jand

Swayze Reply:

Thanks, Jand! :)

2 Kimberly { 06.10.11 at 11:25 am }

Yup!!! I got sucked into all of those things sadly:( The raw hemp powder upset my tummy. The unopened expensive bag of Goji berries still sits in my cupboard. The spirulina I finally tossed because I never took it. I agree!! We don’t need all of that stuff. I eat a variety of greens and green drinks everyday. I feel great and I would rather spend my money on REAL food. Love your blog:)

Swayze Reply:

Same here with the hemp powder. I ate it before I went raw to “get enough protein”. The taste and texture were so horrible!

3 Christiane { 06.10.11 at 2:00 pm }

Thanks and this makes a lot of sense. I have one question though. You say that one can get enough protein out of raw foods. I am on raw food since about 3 weeks and I feel like in need of proteine or something to have more energy. Do you have any suggestion what I should eat best?

Swayze Reply:

Hi Christiane,

You likely are not eating enough calories. Keep track of your food intake at http://www.nutridiary.com (or you can download CRON-o-Meter, which is even better) and make sure you are getting enough calories from fruit.

4 Sharon Holmes { 06.10.11 at 2:09 pm }

Thanks for posting. Did purchased some of the products on a small quantity, as to sample them.

5 Christiane { 06.10.11 at 2:47 pm }

Thanks Swayze,
I will check it out. :-)

6 Nick { 06.10.11 at 4:41 pm }

Great post, I agree with you 100 %. The so called superfoods are ridiculus . Anything in a powder form is not real food. Spinach is a real superfood and all other fresh fruits and vegtables.

Durian rider has some great videos about so called superfoods.

7 Molly { 06.11.11 at 2:41 am }

You are so right. I work in the specialty grocery industry and, sadly, see people duped constantly by the outrageous claims of these “superfoods” and others like them. If one just eats a healthy, balanced diet of nutritious fruits and vegetables, one gets all the nutrients one needs!

8 Hanlie { 06.11.11 at 9:17 am }

I have a bag of hemp powder in my cupboard that is over a year old… I didn’t like it at all!

9 Bonnie { 06.11.11 at 11:32 am }

I agree there are lots of expensive “Superfoods” out there and way over-priced and over-rated! I had my share of them. But I finally stick to only raw fruit & vegetables, with the exception of Spirulina and Chlorella in my smoothies and juice.

10 Bonnie { 06.11.11 at 11:35 am }

By the way, of all the Raw sites out there, I love yours. Very basic, simple, common sense stuff. I don’t get into those fancy mock foods raw foodies make. I like clean, simple yummy fruit and veggies.

Swayze Reply:

Clean and simple is what it’s all about. Oh, and delicious too. :)

11 Linda S. { 06.12.11 at 6:10 pm }

Yes, I have to agree with you, too!! I bought some to sample them, like others did. I still have them in cupboard though…
However, I want to do a long backpacking trek in the future, and I dread not having fresh foods on the trail. It will be difficult most of the times, so I started thinking about the superfoods as a “supplement” to my diet, and started wondering if it would be worth it all the $$$. When people go on long treks away from civilization for periods of time, they need more protein to replace worn-out cells, so a help of superfoods will work?? Lightweight, not having to bring too much at times. Whatcha think?? Help me here…with any of your opinions/feedback. Much appreciated!!

Swayze Reply:

I would focus on dried fruits instead of expensive superfoods, particularly dates that have a lot of calories (over 1000 per pound).

Linda S. Reply:

Sorry I have been away for sooooo long. I’m back and thanks for your reply, Swayze. I was thinking more in the line of trekking for months such as Pacific Crest Trail, or such long trails. I know I will get very tired of eating dates everyday! :-) My teeth will not be very happy if I do that. I would prefer, of course, juicy more than heavily sweet. I will try to experiment on this in the future and see how it goes. So, til that day! I’m just gathering feedback/opinions/whatever and try to see what will work for me. :-)

12 suma amarnath { 06.13.11 at 1:49 am }

very good blog ,please keep giving similar comparisons where expensive foods can be replaced by fresh inexpensive ones .good work

13 rosalia { 06.15.11 at 5:13 pm }

Totally agree, real food is key. What are your thoughts on wheatgrass. My husband and I grow our ow n, we have been for almost a year now.

14 Panda { 08.18.11 at 5:26 pm }

I will agree with those examples because depending on what company you buy it from, but the majority of the ‘superfoods’ I’ve tried (maca, reishii, rhodiola, pau d’arco tea, etc.) make me feel amazing! There are some I don’t care for and (spirulina tastes like fish) But the maca especially makes me feel normal and ‘clear’… it also cannot be imported to the uk in it’s whole form so has to be powdered, and I would not eat a reishii mushroom whole… because they’re just ugly and I make LOTS of smoothies, lol… there are quite a few foods/herbs that should be more readily available because of their nutrient density, but because of greed and the need to keep us sick so we keep taking synthetic ‘medicines’ or even the deceptively ‘processed’ superfoods they are not very common… it’s bad for business to be optimally healthy…

15 Greg { 11.09.11 at 4:52 pm }

whats funny is that you didnt actually DISPROVE ANYTHING all you did was list all the benefits of these superfoods and say that you can get them from eating fruits and vegetables. which fruits and vegetables? and no fruit or vegetable has the concentration of nutrients that these products have. you blame the portion size of the tablets of spirulina? that doesnt take away from the fact that if you ingest large portions of spirulina you will be doing a huge favor to your body. there is no magic cure all for disease i still recommend eating all fruits and vegetables nuts etc but to say that you shouldnt buy this stuff is biased and stupid.

16 Scott { 11.13.11 at 5:57 pm }

I recently found 2 of these and love them. Men need protein. Spirulina has 16 grams of protein per oz! Lettuce has about 0.5 grams of protien per oz, so thats a comparison of effective nutritional value. Fruit is mostly sugar and wont satisfy hunger for long without some added protein. Hemp powders sound inconsistent. However quality Hulled hemp seeds have an almost balanced fat to protien ratio 12+ grams each and you can eat them anywhere anytime. They have twice the protien of all other types of nuts. Both of these ingredients should be eaten often by everyone. Hemp seeds are illegal to grow in the USA, but tobacco is legal to grow. Its policys like these that make the supermarket a dangerous place, choose wisely.

17 Larry Andrews { 11.17.11 at 6:31 am }

I agree with Greg. In my case I am trying to help my 63 y old diabetic sister, who is a southern country woman. She says she would rather die than eat rabbit food all the time. She is protein deficient, and I believe the ease of taking sprirulina would help her.

18 Ozzie { 04.17.12 at 11:30 pm }

I too agree with Greg. Countless studies have been done proving the effectiveness of the three foods you’ve listed above. “No over-the-top marketing here”… just BUY my book haha. Get real. I got 3 Reasons why your e-book is a waste of money.

Spirulina It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked. Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.

Hempseed’s amino acid profile is close to “complete”[clarification needed] when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy.[23] The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs.

Goji berries have 500 times more vitamin C per ounce than oranges and actually more than any other fruit. They are a superb source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E and contain a full complement of protein with 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals.

Eat as Raw as you can. Eat as many Super Foods as you can afford. Exercise as often as you can. And don’t give up on superfoods cause Swayze says so…