I wrote an article talking about the spate of "X is awesome" and "Y is bad for you" articles that came out every year and even had a little quiz asking people if they could identify what superfood and/or remedy was popular in years I had edited out for brevity.

So if you were on a sugar diet, or a red wine diet or an acai berry diet, I know what year you read health magazines.   

Some skepticism is warranted - you will find any number of studies here correlating antioxidants to health benefits.(1)  There's just one problem - there isn't any actual evidence antioxidants help you at all.

Writes Kent Sepkowitz at Slate:
But, hey, who ever let a little evidence stand in the way of a good time? Especially in this case, when the charge toward lifestyle legitimacy has been led by willowy celebrities with karmic equipoise, ably supported by the Four Horsemen of the Alternative: Drs. Weil, Oz, Null, and Chopra. 
When a huge marketing machine gets behind anything where the research is optimistic but unproven, you need to reach for your wallet (that goes for any area - ethanol, health food, jobs saved or created under a stimulus package, etc.).

Antioxidants have always been around, of course - you are all smart enough to break apart than word into "anti" and "oxidant" and see that means they are a preservative.   Who knew health food types would argue for more preservatives in your diet?

Denialism is not just progressives who insist GMOs are evil or conservatives that insist pollution is not bad for us, it is also insisting on something positive despite any proof. Even the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine doesn't endorse antioxidants and they are reliant on money from the $23 billion supplement marketing juggernaut who says they are awesome so even staying neutral is dangerous for them.

Yes, yes, by noting there has been no actual benefit shown to antioxidants, and studies showing risk(2), I am going to be called a shill for Big Pharm.  But that's okay, every week I get called anti-something or pro-something for actually looking critically at stuff, even if Deepak Chopra is more famous than me and therefore must be right.


(1) Heck, somewhere out there someone has correlated second-hand smoke to causing war in Iraq.   We are here to talk about studies, not to endorse them as being right.  And we only go after them as being wrong when they are clearly wrong.   

(2) Goran Bjelakovic, MD, DrMedSci; Dimitrinka Nikolova, MA; Lise Lotte Gluud, MD, DrMedSci; Rosa G. Simonetti, MD; Christian Gluud, MD, DrMedSci, 'Mortality in Randomized Trials of Antioxidant Supplements for Primary and Secondary Prevention', JAMA. 2007;297(8):842-857. doi: 10.1001/jama.297.8.842