foods for healthy gut - Science Nutrition Lab

10 Overhyped Superfoods That Aren’t Worth the Price

Not all superfoods are backed by science. Some superfoods are overhyped and overpriced.

Save your money and support your health by avoiding the superfoods below. They’re not as “super” as the internet has told you.

Cold-Pressed Juices

Cold-pressed juices are trendy and expensive. You can find them at health food stores and juice bars around the world. Some even make their own juice at home with high-end juicers.

Cold-pressed juices certainly aren’t bad for you. However, they’re not as good as many people think.

When you drink cold-pressed juice, you’re getting similar ingredients to regular juice: you get a lot of sugar and some vitamins and minerals, but not much more.

Most experts agree it’s better to eat the whole fruit, including the skin, flesh, and seeds of the fruit. It’s the way nature intended. When you eat fruit whole, it gives you fiber to fill you up and delay the absorption of sugar into your body.

Cold-pressed juices are trendy – but they’re not much better for you than ordinary fruit juices, and you’re probably better off taking whole fruits instead.

Acai Berry

Acai berry, like other overhyped superfoods on this list, isn’t necessarily bad for you – but it’s not as good as people think.

Acai berry is rich with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

However, acai berry is not much more nutritionally relevant than berries you can easily buy at a local supermarket. It has similar antioxidant content to:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries

You can buy the berries above at a fraction of the cost – and enjoy similar benefits to acai berries.

Goji Berries

Goji berries occupy a similar space to acai berries: people throw around words like “antioxidants” and “nutrient-dense” when talking about goji berries.

However, there’s little evidence goji berries can reduce the risk of cancer, boost immunity, or improve cardiovascular health, among other benefits commonly advertised online.

In fact, many of the studies on goji berries come from studies on special goji extracts – not the berries themselves. These extracts are the equivalent to eating thousands of goji berries at once – and it’s not realistic to connect those benefits to adding a few goji berries to your smoothie each morning.

Coconut Water

People who drink coconut water love to talk about its hydrating properties.

Some people claim coconut water cures or prevents hangovers, for example. Others drink coconut water during or after a workout.

However, there’s little evidence suggesting coconut water has better hydrating properties than ordinary water.

Coconut water is also rich with sugar: each 8oz serving has 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar and around 50 calories. If you’re looking to stay hydrated without the filler content, then water is a better choice than coconut water.


Have you ever taken a wheatgrass shot? You may have heard about the benefits of taking ingredients like chlorophyll. Someone might have told you about how wheatgrass is rich with vitamins A, C, and E along with minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Wheatgrass, like other so-called superfoods on this list, isn’t necessarily bad for you – but it’s not as good as people think.

The biggest problem with wheatgrass is that chlorophyll has no known nutritional value in humans.

Yes, wheatgrass is packed with vitamins and minerals – but so are multivitamin supplements and thousands of other fruits and vegetables.

Until science tells us there are specific benefits linked to the chlorophyll in wheatgrass, wheatgrass will continue to be an overhyped superfood deserving of its place on this list.


Search online for “best superfood drinks” and kombucha is sure to appear. Kombucha is a type of fermented black tea.

According to people online, kombucha is linked to benefits like:

  • Detoxification
  • Immune support
  • PMS relief
  • Energy
  • Digestion

That all sounds good. Unfortunately, however, there’s little concrete evidence linking kombucha to these claims.

In fact, most studies suggest ordinary teas like black or green tea – can provide superior benefits to fermented teas like kombucha. These teas are backed by thousands of studies – and centuries of use – linking them to heart health, immunity, and longevity.

Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news for kombucha drinkers: recent studies have found fermenting black and green tea can enhance its antioxidant properties. However, more human trials are needed to verify any of the benefits listed above.

It’s true kombucha, like other fermented foods, has probiotic bacteria. However, the levels of probiotics are smaller than you would get in yogurt, kefir, and other easy-to-find foods.

Certain Milk Alternatives

Milk alternatives are more popular today than ever before. Many people take nut or soy milk daily, for example, to enjoy non-animal sources of milk.

However, most milk alternatives are different than people realize. A typical nut or soy milk, for example, contains just 2% of the active ingredient. The rest of the beverage consists of water, vegetable oils, sweeteners, and additives. These additives enhance shelf life and flavor, but they do little for the nutritional value.

Consider making your own milk alternatives at home. You can enjoy all of the benefits of milk alternatives – with none of the additives or sweeteners.

Final Word

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Some superfoods are backed by science, proven to work, and linked to genuine benefits.

Other superfoods are overhyped, overpriced, and overused.

Top 6 Best Science-Backed Supplements for Gut Health

Good gut health is linked to weight loss, immunity, energy, cognition, and other crucial processes.

If you don’t have good gut health, then your body struggles to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.

Poor gut health could also lead to greater intestinal permeability and leaky gut.

Fortunately, some supplements are proven to support gut health, support the intestinal lining, and help with issues like bloating and indigestion.

Keep reading to discover the best supplements for gut health.


Probiotic supplements contain living bacteria colonies called colony forming units (CFUs). These CFUs encourage the growth and balance of bacteria within your gut. A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for gut health. Without a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria, your body struggles to break down the foods you eat, extract their nutritional value, and maintain intestinal permeability, among other issues.

Probiotics are some of the most-studied gut health supplements available today. According to the National Institutes of Health, probiotic supplements help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms, influence your body’s immune response, and produce substances with desirable effects, among other benefits.

Look for probiotics with multiple strains of bacteria and high levels of CFUs. To be considered a probiotic yogurt, yogurt must contain a minimum of 1 billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria, so your probiotic supplement should contain a similar number of CFUs.


95% of Americans don’t get their daily recommended intake of fiber. That’s unfortunate, because fiber is linked with everything from healthy blood pressure to better digestive health.

Fiber bulks up in your digestive tract, helping you push waste out of your body.

You can find plenty of “detox supplements” advertised online today with dramatic claims. However, many of these supplements simply contain high levels of fiber. That’s their secret.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, a high-fiber diet is linked to:

  • Normalized bowel movements
  • Maintenance of bowel health
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Better control of blood sugar levels
  • Weight loss
  • Longevity

The average man needs 38g of fiber per day (age 50 or younger) or 30g of fiber per day (age 51 or older).

The average woman needs 25g of fiber per day (age 50 or younger) or 21 grams of fiber per day (age 51 or older).

Psyllium supplements are affordable, easy to find, and plentiful, and you can easily take a psyllium supplement to get your daily recommended intake of fiber.


Used for centuries to help with stomach issues, ginger is popular in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine.

Today, studies show ginger is rich with natural ingredients with adaptogenic and antioxidant properties, which could make it valuable for gut health.

You can buy ginger supplements in powders, capsules, or tablets. Some people with digestive issues take ginger daily to help with nausea and vomiting. Others take it to soothe stomach aches.


Your body produces glutamine naturally, but many take glutamine supplements for added benefits. Today, a growing number of gut support supplements contain glutamine for that reason.

Studies show L-glutamine can help relieve diarrhea, especially if that diarrhea is linked to infections, stress, or a recent surgery.

One study connected L-glutamine supplementation specifically to gut microbiota. Researchers gave an L-glutamine supplement to a group of obese adults, then observed a significant improvement in gut bacteria levels.

Other studies suggest L-glutamine can help with nutrient absorption. If you have poor gut bacteria levels or are taking drugs that impair nutrient absorption, for example, then L-glutamine could support your body’s ability to absorb more nutrients.

Collagen Peptides

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Your body needs collagen protein for countless effects all over the body. That’s why many people take collagen peptide supplements daily.

Prized for their anti-aging effects, recovery benefits, and more, collagen peptide formulas can also help support gut health.

In one 2012 study, researchers found collagen peptide formulas had anti-inflammatory properties within the gut. Another study connected collagen peptides to leaky gut, finding collagen peptide supplementation helped prevent further breakdown of the intestinal lining.


Many are surprised to see licorice on a list of the best supplements for gut health. It’s true: certain types of licorice have been linked to gut health.

Using licorice for gut health isn’t new: it’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support gut health.

Today, you can take a deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) supplement to give your body 75 bioactive compounds to support gut health in various ways.

One study linked licorice to lower inflammation and better mucus production in the gut. Another study found licorice works better when you remove glycyrrhizin (GL) because it has adverse effects in humans, although the other 75 bioactive compounds in licorice support health in other ways.

Take a Blood Test to Spot and Address Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies may be silently sapping your energy every day – and many don’t know it.

You may have nutritional deficiencies because of a poor diet. Or, you may have nutritional deficiencies because of poor gut health – even if you eat right, your gut may struggle to absorb nutrients.

Take a Science Nutrition Lab blood test to get the answers you need for your gut health.

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