Ask The Expert

The 5-A-Day Fallacy

Richard Canterbury, founder of Love Taste Co, creates revolutionary frozen smoothie products, plus fresh fruit teas and bone broth, which are sold everywhere from Pret and Virgin Active to Sainsbury’s and Ocado. Using fruit and veg frozen at source, then blended with milk or juice, it’s the perfect way to get your recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables… but contray to popular belief this is NOT five-a-day but actually 10-a-day. Here, Richard tells us about how five-a-day was a farce based on poor research with figures plucked from the ether. He also gives tips on how to introduce more variety into your food plan.

Richard Canterbury of Love Taste Co

We’ve been used to the saying for years. Indeed, it’s been plastered across TV adverts, food packaging and company logos for as long as many people can remember.

But unfortunately five portions of fruit and veg a day is not enough. The joy of six is still not cutting it. Seven heaven? Keep going, because, actually, you should be aiming for double figures.

The World Health Organisation’s long-standing campaign encouraging people to eat five fruit and vegetable products a day has caught the imagination of an increasingly health-conscious population.

But we’ve all been falling short, for now the bar has been raised – to TEN.

I run a London drinks company supplying some of the nation’s biggest retailers with smoothies and, not that I want to say I told you so, I’ve been eating at least 10 portions of fruit and veg a day for the best part of a decade. Many others have too, especially the people you see every day charging down the street in the latest Lycra. We care about bodies and what we’re putting into them. We’re probably drinking green tea despite craving a coffee, or heading for a run after a hard day’s work when we’d rather head straight to the pub.

But 10-a-day is no longer the preserve of the fitness fanatic. Everyone needs to adopt this same commitment to eating healthily.

So where did the fallacy of five a day come from? In truth, it is a simplification of the need to eat a minimum of 400g of fruit and veg per day on the bass that five portions are roughly 80g each.

But 400g is the bare minimum. The latest research shows the benefits of eating fruit and veg continues up to 800g per day and only then do diminishing returns begin to set in.

That can be a tricky target to achieve in our society that’s constantly on the go, so here are some tips on ensuring that you hit our targets.

Firstly, vegetables are healthier than fruit – four times more healthy, in fact.

If you think five-a-day was strict, then think again. Australia recommend seven portions per day, five of which are vegetables. Japan are even more passionate about their intake. They advocate 850g, of which three quarters should be made up of vegetables.

But, did you know, that some vegetables and fruit are better than others for specific well-being.

Best at preventing heart disease and strokes include apples, pears and citrus fruits in addition to green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory. If those don’t tickle your taste buds, try broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress and bok choi – all cruciferous vegetables – will have the same impact.

All of us would want to reduce the risk of cancer so make sure to include green beans, yellow/orange peppers, carrots and cruciferous vegetables in your diet.

So what’s all the fuss about? Why should we be prioritising fruit and vegetables over all other foods. Well here’s why… fruit and vegetables produce vitamins and minerals including C, potassium and folate – all vital additions to keeping our bodies trim and healthy. They also help maintain a healthy digestive system by providing dietary fibre in addition to being low in fat. If that’s not enough, your very own fruit and veg stash will provide dietary fibre, are low in fat and will do wonders for your weight.

Ok, but how do we fit all of this into our diets? We’re busy souls, constantly on the move, always on the go. But you can do it. Here are my pointers to ensuring you CAN reach your 10-a-day target.

Breakfast: If you prefer something a little savoury then try mushrooms and tomatoes on toast (brown bread, of course). Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, try chopped fruit or berries in cereal, porridge or yoghurt. Or simply opt for a smoothie.

Lunch: Salad with a sandwich would be the logical option. But if you’re cutting down on your bread, perhaps try fruit, carrots and celery snack bags. If you have access to a blender, a smoothie ticks this particular box too.

Dinner: You’ll definitely be wanting two or three vegetables with your main meal. Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes, try a side salad and don’t forget to finish with some fruit for dessert.

Snacks: If you can’t make lunch or dinner, then don’t panic – buy some dried or fresh fruit as a snack and opt for some carrot and cucumber sticks.

If you think all of this will hit your pocket, then think again. The Institute of Economic Affairs has found that the cheapest ready meal will cost more than fruit and veg. For instance, the £1 cost of a cheeseburger equates to a kilo of sweet potatoes, two kilos of carrots, 10 apples or seven bananas.

And, of course, all of these can be supplemented by a smoothie. Just one 12oz smoothie contains at least two of your 10 a day. Love Smoothies has a range of fruit and vegetable smoothies and is available via Ocado. They are sold in frozen pods – you simply pop that in the blender with 200ml of apple juice (other juices/milks also work) and blitz for half-a-minute to get the perfect smoothie.

Five-a-day? Five is for wimps. Up your intake, improve your life.

About Richard Canterbury

Richard Canterbury founded Love Taste Co in 2005, quitting Saatchi and Saatchi to set up a smoothie stall at Borough Market. He now sells smoothies, frappes, fruit teas and bone broth into more than 25 countries around the world, as well as supplying the likes of Pret a Manger, Virgin Active and Sainsbury’s. The company sells £40m of smoothies every year to countries as far afield as Australia and the Middle East. Married, with two boys, Richard lives in London.

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