Should we be Eating 10-a-day?

For many years, the official advice has been to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. But recently reports have been suggesting that this figure should be increased to 10-a-day. Is this realistic? Should people aim for 10-a-day?

No – Toby
The message around five-a-day has taken a long time to spread but after many years, people finally know that this is how many portions of fruit and veg they should be aiming for. It’s a realistic target and we shouldn’t muddy the waters by changing the figure.

Most people still struggle to fit in five pieces of fruit and veg each day and 10 would seem completely unattainable for the average person. Setting them up to fail will just leave people feeling disheartened about healthy eating. The goals must be achievable or people will simply give up trying to be healthy altogether.

Fruit and vegetables are expensive and for families on a budget it would be difficult to suddenly buy twice as much. In my household, we start with good intentions, buying lots of fruit, vegetables and salads when we go shopping but always end up throwing things away because we didn’t get chance to eat them before they went off. Upping the recommended limit will just lead to more wastage as people buy more than they can consume. 

Perhaps in years gone by, when people foraged for their own food and meat was scarce, eating more natural foods was a simple choice. But in today’s busy world, we’re more reliant on convenience food. And as long as people are getting a balance, I think five-a-day is still a good target to aim for. 

Yes – Anka
You can’t argue with science. If health experts have found that we should be eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day to maintain good health, then people deserve to know. Saying that most people won’t be able to achieve it so we should give them an easier goal is insulting. Show people the evidence and let them make their own minds up. 

Studies show that despite the pervasive five-a-day message, many still fail to eat more than one or two portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Perhaps if the target were higher, they would increase their intake further. 

Our Western diets are causing an unprecedented health crisis. We are getting fatter and sicker and we need to do something about it. Treating unhealthy people is costing governments around the world billions each year. We need to change and if this means advising people to eat 10-a-day, then that’s what must happen. 

It might sound a lot but 10 portions a day is actually easy to achieve. A fruit salad for breakfast, lots of vegetables at lunchtime, and salad with your evening meal and you’ll soon hit the target. Swap unhealthy snacks for fruit and it’s even easier.

We need to change our approach to food if we are to protect the health of future generations. This means becoming less reliant on convenience foods and returning to a more natural diet. And let’s face it, what could be more convenient than grabbing an apple or a banana, or tipping tomatoes onto your plate?

Comments are closed.