Professor Tim Spector, has lambasted the trend of dietary supplements, calling them unbeneficial and a mere money-making scheme. Instead, he advises prioritizing ‘real food’ and leaning towards a primarily plant-based diet with minimal ultra-processed foods.
Prof. Spector, a genetic epidemiology expert and the author of ‘Food For Life: The New Science Of Eating Well’, stated at the Hay Festival in Wales that these supplements are developed by major food corporations, not small artisanal companies. Made in vast factories in China, he claims that 99% of these supplements have shown no significant health benefits.
“In essence, we are total mugs for spending our money on supplements when we should be investing it in real food,” he quipped. The only exceptions, according to TV doctor Chris van Tulleken and Prof. Spector, are B12 supplements for vegans who aren’t consuming sufficient iron-rich foods and potentially vitamin D supplements.
Prof. Spector concedes that it’s challenging to eliminate unhealthy foods entirely but stresses the importance of educating people about identifying them. In his view, this could dramatically improve life expectancy and health span.
An advocate of ‘personalised nutrition’, the professor himself follows a plant-based diet, consumes fermented foods, practices intermittent fasting, and has been weaned off milk chocolate, albeit with a confessed addiction to nuts and crisps.
He also highlighted the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, contending that reducing meat and dairy intake, particularly beef, lamb, and milk, is more impactful than reducing car use or air travel. Prof. Spector said that milk consumption has been declining since the 1970s, and there is no clear evidence that adults gain any benefits from drinking milk.
The key takeaway from Prof. Spector’s advice is clear: supplements aren’t the golden ticket to health. Instead, consider opting for a balanced, predominantly plant-based diet. Not only will this provide a multitude of health benefits, but it’s also a more sustainable and environmentally friendly choice. So next time you’re in the supermarket, ditch the supplement aisle and head straight for the fresh produce!
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