5-a-day fallacy

March 14, 2008

Unless you have been on a desert island with your 8 gramophone records, and lucky you, then you will know that the minimum requirement to be healthy is to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. The message seems to have got through, but the devil is in the detail. A survey by the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association has revealed that on average only 14% of Britons manage those 5 portions, and, what is worse, around two-thirds of us – a staggering 38 million people – are counting potatoes in as one of their daily five. I love a good roastie as much as the next woman, perhaps rather too much so, but whatever form you eat potatoes in they are principally a source of carbohydrate. True they contain some vitamin C, but you can’t have them as part of your daily allowance.

Apparently the top favourites we do include in our diet are bananas and carrots but that isn’t enough to stop the Government’s latest Cabinet Office discussion paper from concluding that up to 70,000 premature deaths a year could be avoided if people simply followed basic nutritional guidelines.


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