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Are ‘superfoods’ real?

Are ‘superfoods’ real?

Eat blueberries and you will live for ever. Quinoa gives you superpowers. Being within 100 feet of an egg yolk will kill you instantly. Exaggeration? Yes, but every day we hear dietary messages from the media and food ‘experts’ that aren’t that far from such hyperbole. Social Media use food fads as bait to draw us in and show us ads (thanks, Buzzfeed). There is conflicting advice out there that can make our heads spin. To pick the right things to eat and create a healthy and sustainable diet, the best thing to do is educate ourselves in nutritional science and then make our own choices.


Nutrition and Wellbeing is a FutureLearn course starting on September 5, 2016, powered by the University of Aberdeen. It cuts through the kind of hype described above to help us understand the scientific basis of human nutrition, and thus to demystify the complex and often conflicting messages we hear about diet and health from the media, the food industry and also the scientific community.


The course inevitably contains experts, but you would hope that they would give unbiased information. Dr Alexandra Mavroeidi and Dr Alexandra Johnstone from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health are co-leads academics for this course. They explore four main themes:

  • The makings of a ‘healthy diet’: What are the principal constituents of food? Which components of your diet can promote wellbeing and reduce the risk of diseases?
  • Why do we eat what we eat?: What are the ‘drivers’ that influence our food choices? How do we make sense of available nutrition information?
  • Food and disease: Can you really eat your way to health?
  • Nutrition fads, myths and the plain truth: Is there such a thing as a ‘miracle’ diet, do ‘superfoods’ exist, or are our genes to be blamed for our current nutritional habits?


Registration began on July 13th and the course begins on September 5th 2016. The 2015 course saw 25,000 people register – how many finished it has not been published.