Slate.com once again has a fine article that rocks nutritional conventional wisdom. Which can be read by clicking on the Slate.com link in the previous sentence.
Well, there is a wee small problem in our ongoing anti-oxidize-athon: As it turns out, we have no evidence that antioxidants are beneficial in humans. (Though if you're a Sprague-Dawley rat, there's hope.) In fact, as Emily Anthes wrote last year in Slate, the best available data demonstrate that antioxidants are bad for you—so long as you count an increased risk of death as "bad.
My favorite bit, since it throws the dreadfully moronic Doc Oz under the bus:
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. The seduction of this confederacy (sex! doctors! pills!) is immense; to appreciate its power, one need only consider the pomegranate.
It turns out, like our overuse of antibacterial products which are actually making our bodies more susceptible to dangerous infection, anti-oxidants are turning our cells into microscopic pussies.
If only reality would play along. As noted by Anthes, and Michael Specter in his bookDenialism, the first clear crack in the façade was the 2007 revelation in JAMA that antioxidant vitamins were not merely useless but harmful. Building on this clinical observation, a German group has developed a plausible scientific explanation of the increased risk. The title of the group's most recent publication, "Extending life span by increasing oxidative stress," pretty much sums up their view: The human cell should toughen up. It can benefit from enduring something harsh like the insult caused by free radicals. This way, the organism is more prepared to fend off the inevitable Big One, be it cancer or a toxic fume or perhaps a bout of cholera. Practice makes perfect.
This is just another indication that we all need to eat natural whole foods (little w, little f) – meat, fish, fruit, vegetables – and we will be fine. And that there is no magic food that will negate the devastating effects on your body of that box of Krispy Kremes (not Top Pot donuts, those are 100% healthy, natural and life affirming) you ate for breakfast.