At the start of January, there was great excitement that black pudding, the traditional Irish breakfast staple, was included on a list of hot new superfoods to watch for 2016.
Black beans, avocado oil and seaweed also made the list, issued by fitness and nutrition site MuscleFood.com, but the inclusion of black pudding led to segments and stories about the superfood list on TodayFM, the Daily Mail, the Irish Examiner and TheJournal.ie.
The accolades heaped upon black pudding included its extremely high nutritional value, its levels of protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and the fact that it’s low in carbohydrates.
However, the inquiring minds at the Irish Examiner thought there was something a little off about the praise being heaped upon the blood sausage, so they followed up with MuscleFoods.com for a more scientific explanation.
As it turns out, there isn’t really one.
The superfood list was compiled based on user trends rather than any specific scientific research, the Irish Examiner learned.
MuscleFood.com confirmed that the “new research” they had mentioned was an analysis of customer searches on its website rather than testing of the superfoods listed.
“The research for this piece was done internally by MuscleFood.com, based on trends from customer searches in the last few months, particularly for foods rich in iron and protein,” a spokesperson for Delicious Marketing Group said on behalf of MuscleFood.com.
The Examiner reported that the spokesperson did also note that the site had consulted a nutritional expert who said that black pudding “can provide the body with many essential nutrients like iron and protein all of which are needed as part of a healthy balanced diet.”
But Safefood Ireland, the food safety board, raised a number of concerns about designating black pudding as a healthy option, noting that “while black pudding may be high in iron, it is also high in calories, salt, and saturated fat.”
The group also cautioned against the increasingly trendy practice of labeling foods as “superfoods” as it “can give consumers the impression that other, more ordinary foods in their diet are not as healthy when, in reality, those foods often provide just as many valuable nutrients as those found in so-called ‘superfoods.'
“It should also be remembered that there is no accepted technical definition of the word itself and no standard that must be met to be included as a ‘superfood.’ A simple online search for the word itself gave us almost 10 million results and these were predominantly from health and nutrition blogs, online newspapers, magazines and suppliers of nutritional supplements.”
“It should also be noted that in October last year, the World Health Organization added processed meats [of which black pudding would be an example] to its list when it looked at the carcinogenicity of red meat and processed meat consumption.”
This recipe for vegetarian black pudding might be the solution then!