For some time now we’ve had the ‘5 portions a day’ mantra practically jammed into our brains by government health ministers. Most of us simply accept this assertion that we ‘need’ 5 portions of multi-coloured spherical objects and leafy greens, some times hitting that target, but often not. The salad dodgers may be even more dismayed then to hear that brand new recommendations for daily fruit and veg intakes come in at around 8 portions. For the average person who eats 3 square meals a day, that’s at least 2 portions with each meal, and a further two portions as snacks.
This is above and beyond the capabilities and will power of most people, not only do a surprisingly large amount of people dislike fruit and veg, the extra donkey work it takes to buy in a variety of fresh produce and dice it up to incorporate it into meals or turn into a quick and easy-to-scoff snack is considerable. Luckily for these people the Daily Mail, a notoriously right-wing stuffy British Newspaper has published the revelation that fruit and veg hold little nutritional value!
The article, written by Zoe Harcome, a PhD student in Nutrition claims that while fruit and veg are not ‘bad’ for you, they actually lack key vitamin and mineral profiles that can be found in other foods like meat, fish and eggs. Harcome also derides the anti-fat attitude perpetrated by the media for decades. She retorts that fat is actually required to digest some of the vitamins in fruit as they are ‘fat soluble’ She even goes as far to say fruit smothered with butter is more nutritious than your traditional standalone apple or banana!
Harcome goes onto say that 8 portions of fruit a day is actually a bad idea and could make you fat due to the ingestion of excess fructose which is converted to fat by the body. The publishing of the article by the mail in my opinion is irresponsible, impressionable readers will see this article and immediately feel unchained from the ‘burden’ of a diet rich in plant food. Harcome is on the verge of demonizing fruit and veg here, which simply isn’t realistic.
My reaction to this article is to simply ignore it. As with any nutrition plan, variety is the key, in this sense Harcome is correct in her dismissal of eating excessive amounts of fruit in place of meat which provides vital protein, but to imply that fruit and veg is devoid of goodness and health giving befits its plain wrong. While the ‘5 a day’ advice may be old, it is not outdated and anyone following this religiously can be safe in the knowledge that they have a sound base for their diet. Remember; variety is the key. Fruits are definitely full of benefits as shown in these articles on the grapefruit benefits, cranberry juice benefits , and pomegranate health benefits.
Joe is a health and fitness blogger currently working for a Car Hire firm.