Goji Berry Nutrition Claims

A news article states numerous nutrition claims about a dried berry from China (goji berry, aka wolfberry).

 

The article repeats the product’s press release without checking any facts or realizing that comparisons are being made between dried food (the berries) and fresh, raw foods (which obviously have their nutrient content diluted with water, as would fresh wolfberries). It states that the berries have “more” (no quantity or serving size given, which would be necessary to make a true comparison) iron than spinach and more beta carotene than carrots (not to mention the part about them being “one of the most powerful antioxidants” -- see Blooper #178). Nutrition Facts on packages of the berries do not support the claims, many of which are not permitted in labeling of products for sale in the U.S. Additionally, the bright red color of the dried berries indicates that a sulfiting agent was likely used in processing, but the packaging makes no mention of this. Many Web sites tout this berry, and most give misleading, if not illegal, claims for its health properties, and site scientific studies as “proof.” Our reading of many of these studies failed to locate proof for the claims, other than inferring general connections that could be true for many other foods. Like any berry, wolfberries will be high in antioxidants such as vitamin C (although dried forms have much less than fresh), but not significantly more so than other, much cheaper fruits.

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