Go organic for breakfast
Breakfast is aruably the most important meal of the day, supplying nutrition to replenish our body after a night’s sleep when key metabolic functions are carried out. So, what we put into our bodies at the start of our day is important.
Cereals and toast are popular, convenient choices for breakfast, but choosing the healthiest option isn’t always obvious. Supermarket shelves are lined with breakfast products described as “healthy”, but a quick glance at the ingredients can reveal refined grains, sugars, and additives that might involve the use of chemicals in the production process. Many are ultra processed foods which are under investigation for health concerns.
Glyphosate – the herbicide that lurks in your breakfast
You won’t see glyphosate in the ingredients list of cereals and bread, but unless you choose organic produce, it’s probably there. It’s the most widely used herbicide in the world, and it’s sprayed onto tonnes of crops grown to produce breakfast cereals and flour. It’s estimated that 80% of our dietary exposure glyphosate, comes from cereals such as oats, wheat, and barley.
Glyphosate is still considered safe in the EU and the UK (it’s use has been granted another 10-year licence), but evidence is growing that glyphosate is a health risk for us all. The World Health Organization classify it as “probably carcinogenic” due to links with the development of cancer. In children it has been linked to liver disease and metabolic syndrome against a trend where metabolic and liver diseases are increasing among children and young adults.
So, if you only think about making one organic swap after reading this – choose organic cereals or bread first.
Go organic at breakfast
The good news is that glyphosate is extremely easy to avoid by choosing organic ingredients and produce for your breakfast. The British Heart Foundation rates porridge and salt free muesli in their top 10 healthiest breakfast list, and if you choose ingredients from organically farmed sources, they will be even healthier.
The same goes for other ingredients in your breakfast, from organic fruit, nuts, honey, and yogurt, to bread and butter for making toast. Most supermarkets offer an affordable range of organic alternatives to foods grown with pesticides, and they don’t hide them away in special aisles any longer. There are plenty of home delivery services too.
Organic milk has higher levels of key nutritional ingredients such as omega 3, and is GM, antibiotic, and preservative free. Organic milk differs from non-organic milk in several aspects; farmers enable their herds to graze from organic grass, free herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals. Animal welfare, use of antibiotics, and lower use of additives and preservatives are also tightly regulated.
Around a quarter of UK consumers have switched to plant-based alternatives such as soy, almond, and oat milk, the most popular. Plant milks are an alternative to dairy based products, and are lactose and dairy free. But not all plant-based milks are equal. A close look at the ingredients list can reveal additives. Some milks use potassium phosphate as a stabiliser. Whilst considered generally safe, it can be a risk factor for anyone with kidney disease so always check the ingredients label. Some organic soy milk options have only water and hulled soybeans for example.
Foods most likely to have pesticides and herbicides – The PAN Dirty Dozen list
Learn more in our Insights Guide to Glyphosate
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