Why “five a day” is not enough


We’ve long been told by the powers that be that when it comes to fruit and veg, “five a day” is our target – even though, according to the UK government’s definition, a portion is just 80 grams, equal to a small apple, banana or carrot.

After a European study found measurable benefits to going higher than this, the scientists concerned recommended “eight a day” as a better target to aim for.

That is still nowhere near enough yet oddly there are qualified nutritionists who believe we are being told to eat too much fruit and veg.

For example, at the time the above study was making headlines, The Daily Mail published an article in which a well-known nutritionist proclaimed that it is a “fallacy” that we need even five portions of fruit and veg a day, stating that, “in terms of health and nutrition, fruit and veg have little to offer.”

Yes, you did read that right. And I dealt with it in this article.

A very important word that is often missing from this debate is  “phytonutrients”. And you simply can’t have a meaningful discussion about what is a sensible intake of fruits and vegetables without reference to these.


Because phytonutrients are the main reason that bite for bite, and calorie for calorie, fruits and veggies give us more health-boosting, disease-busting goodness than any other food group.

Yet at the time of writing it is estimated that less than a third of the UK population is even meeting the “five a day” target. The daily fruit and veg intake of the average Brit? Three portions, or 240 grams.

Whenever something appears in the mainstream media suggesting that fruits and veggies are not the health foods we’ve been led to believe, I get emails from concerned readers – some even asking us whether their predilection for organic produce is a waste of money.

It’s anything but, and if you have any doubts about that just spend a little time looking into phytonutrients. There are thousands of them, each with different healing properties, and the scientific study of them is still in its infancy.

Nobody knows exactly what they all do nor the amounts we need for optimum health, but enough is known about them that it’s safe to say that if we want to be at our healthiest, we need to consume them in abundance.

I’m going to wrap this up with a fruit and veg recommendation of my own.

If you’re not getting “two a day” yet, aim for that.

Of course I am not talking about “portions” here but kilos.

If you’re already wise to this, high five – or rather high twenty five (for that’s how many 80g portions this is).

And the easy way to do it? Just add into your daily diet a big raw juice, a green smoothie and a gigantic, colourful salad or other vegetable-based main meal.

I encourage you to try it for a while so you can experience the dramatic improvement in your health that is only possible when you’re flooding your system with alkalising, free-radical-busting, detoxifying, health-giving phytonutrients!

1 Comment

  • Thank you for making things clear!! I always get comments about the enormous amounts of fruit and veg I eat. I think it’s just because people are used to such tiny portions! XX

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