Consumer Reports: Beware antioxidant hype

More products marketed a super source of antioxidants

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter, mmoritz@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 29 2013 06:27:45 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 29 2013 06:49:06 PM CDT

The latest buzzword in grocery store products is antioxidants.

Blueberries are heavily marketed as a super source of antioxidants. Packaged products like Snapple iced tea mix, Tropicana Orange Juice and even a bag of chips tout their antioxidant advantage.

"Antioxidants are beneficial," said Consumer Reports' Dr. John Santa. "They block the action of free radicals, which can damage healthy cells in your body and contribute to heart disease, cancer and other illnesses."

But, Consumer Reports health experts warn not to be taken in by packaged foods touting antioxidants.

"A manufacturer can add antioxidants to food, but that doesn't mean it's a good source for what you need," said Consumer Reports' Gayle Williams.

Take Kellogg's FiberPlus bars that claim to be "rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and zinc."

"You can get more vitamin E from just once of almonds, and you can get more zinc from just three ounces of lean beef," Williams said.

And, are blueberries really the number one antioxidant fruit?

"There is no one antioxidant superfood," Williams said. "The best thing to do is eat a wide variety of foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Those give you the biggest benefit."

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