Why organic food IS worth it, according to a top dietary expert


Organic food does not contain any chemical additives, which according to scientist Professor Tim Spector may be better for your health

You might find it too expensive.

But according to a leading nutritionist, eating organic is really worth it.

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, admitted he once thought organic labels – signaling products are made without pesticides or other additives – were just a clever marketing ploy.

A large-scale review of 200 studies in 2012 found that organic foods offered no additional nutritional benefit.

Still, Professor Spector, who has written three books on nutrition and is a co-founder of the health and diet firm Zoe, claimed that’s not the whole story, and he’s since changed his mind.

Organic food does not contain any chemical additives, which according to scientist Professor Tim Spector may be better for your health

Organic foods are generally more expensive to buy than non-organic products, but Professor Spector added that you don't have to switch completely and can introduce the healthy foods slowly.

Organic foods are generally more expensive to buy than non-organic products, but Professor Spector added that you don’t have to switch completely and can introduce the healthy foods slowly.

He pointed to a 2014 study in The British Journal of Nutrition that found that organic products contain more polyphenols than non-organic versions.

Polyphenols are a type of natural antioxidant that help fight inflammation in the body, which is linked to a range of health problems.

In the Zoe Science and Nutrition podcast, Professor Spector explained that polyphenols are substances that naturally protect the plant against insects and environmental factors.

And because non-organic fruits and vegetables can rely on growers protecting them with chemicals like pesticides, they don’t produce as many polyphenols.

“It turns out that organic varieties grown in our traditional way have more,” he said.

What is Organic Food?

The term “organic” refers to how certain foods are produced.

To be labeled as “organic” food, food has been grown and grown without the use of:

  • Artificial chemicals
  • Hormones
  • antibiotics
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Organic food ranges from fresh produce, dairy products and meat.

But also processed foods such as crackers, drinks and frozen meals

The organic food market has expanded significantly since the late 20th century and has become a multibillion dollar industry.

“All our food is prepared for growth and size and to look good.

“But when you look at the details, you actually get less of the things you need.”

Speaking to Jonathan Wolf, CEO of Zoe, Professor Spector acknowledged that the levels of additives such as pesticides and herbicides in food are monitored to ensure they do not directly cause cancer.

But he argued that whether the substances can harm our health in a more subtle way over time is another question.

Professor Spector explained that there have been minimal human studies that consider the longer-term harm such chemicals can do to the body.

But these scant studies have weakly linked them to serious health problems such as cancer, infertility and ADHD, though these relationships are far from proven.

Mr Wolf noted that buying organic can be ‘very expensive’ and not everyone has the luxury of affording it.

However, Professor Spector said going organic doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are more affordable ways for people to incorporate organic foods into their diets.

He said people can opt for just some organic food in their regular store or buy organic canned and frozen food as a cheaper alternative because it doesn’t spoil as quickly as fresh food.

Professor Spector also said the one thing he personally wouldn’t skip was buying organic tomatoes as he eats them every day.

But for those still skeptical about the switch, Professor Spector also revealed the non-organic products buyers should avoid.

The scientist claimed that non-organic products may not contain as many nutrients as they are

The scientist claimed that non-organic products may not contain as many nutrients as they are “prepared for growth” instead

An expert suggested avoiding breakfast cereals containing oats as they can contain a large amount of chemical additives (stock image)

An expert suggested avoiding breakfast cereals containing oats as they can contain a large amount of chemical additives (stock image)

Breakfast cereals containing oats should be skipped at all costs, he said, because of the high levels of chemical additives.

He said oats are often grown in humid countries and sprayed with artificial chemicals such as glyphosate before being harvested to dry out.

“And because they’re wet, they soak up all that glyphosate. And so their levels are five to 10 times higher than many other grains,” he added.

Professor Spector added that there are also ways to make non-organic foods a little better for you at home.

“Washing helps, but it doesn’t get close to organic levels,” he said.

Instead, he recommended peeling the produce or adding baking soda to remove potentially harmful additives.