You may have noticed that the main message behind a lot of the blogs we write is that a balanced diet, lots of exercise and a healthy dose of common sense are the main things you need to lose weight, get fit and feel great.
Well, we’re about to say it again, because experts have just decided that our daily target of five portions of fruit and veg per day needs to be doubled to 10 portions.
That’s a lot of fruit and veg.
140 pieces of fruit?!
Now, we’re not arguing with the science, or the principle: the more fresh fruit and veg we can eat, the better. But ten portions a day is a vast amount. That’s 140 portions of fruit per couple, per week, or 560 per month.
A family of two adults living with two teenage children would need to be working almost 15,000 portions of fruit and veg into their diets every year to hit the target.
As a general guide, the five-a-day rule has worked pretty well, and has really helped to reinforce the importance of fresh veg in people’s minds. But the focus, as always, should be on balance and common sense.
Don’t believe the marketing hype
It can also be too tempting for people to turn to sugar-filled items such as store-bought smoothies as a ‘cheat’s’ way to get their five (or 10) a day. Or to turn to other processed foods that market themselves cleverly. Heinz, for example, claims its famous beans are one of your five a day. OK, they contain fibre, but the also contain a tonne of hidden sugar – 20.6g per standard sized can. That’s five sugar cubes in your beans on toast.
The five-a-day rule is a marketing gimmick. It’s worked well, and doesn’t do any real harm, but don’t let it get in the way of common sense – and definitely don’t panic about trying to hit ten portions a day. Just go for a run or a cycle or a swim instead.