fruit and veg

Fruit and Veg – Too Much or Too Little?!

Following the culmination of our Fit 4 Purpose programme, our online Opinion Exchange closed. This week on the blog we thought we’d highlight one of the articles posted there earlier this year, all about the proposed changes to our recommended daily allowance of fruit and veg. You can find this article and many more on our Opinion Exchange.

How are you managing? Do you actually eat 5 portions of fruit and veg day? Well done if you do – I don’t think there are many of us who actually succeed apart from the odd occasion! 5 portions of dark chocolate a day I can manage, but fruit and veg?!

And now the amount has been doubled to 10 portions a day! Will we be eating nothing but fruit and veg? This will certainly not be good for our farmers and how will our digestive systems cope with this sudden influx?!

A portion is defined as an amount that fits into the palm of your hand, which means we are probably eating more fruit and veg than we think.

If you are having a meat/fish and 2 veg meal you are probably nearing 4 portions but I must say I find it hard to visualise how I would eat 10 portions a day. Especially as I don’t have regular meals – I’m lucky if I have a meat/fish and 2 veg once a week, so 10 portions a day? My stomach certainly couldn’t cope with that! Although the plus side is that I would loose weight…

So what do these 10 portions consist of?  Well, nothing new – apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, peppers and carrots – really what is readily available and what most of us already eat.

But when recommending new diets you really have to consider what has been in your diet for the last 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 years. A big and/or sudden change could make you feel very unwell as the body can’t cope – you may not have the right enzymes to break down all this different food as you have never needed them before.  And if you are fit and healthy on your present diet – is it really essential to change?

The other thing is that with the cost of food (particularly fresh fruit and veg) – can we afford it? Not only are older people having difficulty with prices, think of young people and families with young children.  These are the groups who really need to eat the regular portions in order to train the stomach while they’re young. Unfortunately many have a diet of McDonald’s or unhealthy fast food due to cost.

So, are you going to change your diet? Let us know how you get on and be cheered by the fact that in Australia it is 14 portions a day!

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