In case you haven’t heard, new research by the University of London and the Department of Health has established that eating five portions of fruit and veg a day – whilst naturally better than eating none – is still not enough.
Around the country, smug juicer users suddenly sat up in their chairs and bellowed “WHAT?!”
Yup. I’m pretty sure those folks were all operating under some sort of immortality fantasy as they downed their tasty kale and carrot smoothie each morning, but they need to think again.
Risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease is 25% higher for people who only manage to get five portions into themselves a day, opposed to those who put away seven.
Obviously there is a pretty serious point behind all of this – that almost all of us need to up our intake of fresh produce and cut back on our processed foods. But isn’t that something we knew anyway?
Now the poor whatsits who thought they were following a life-saving regimen have been given a reason to worry, just like the rest of us unhealthy lot.
What are we left with? Sitting in a field, munching on beets, and trying to get a lick of a passing chicken, presumably."
Let’s just add another curve-ball into the mix; there are plenty of nutritionists and dietitians out there who say that two pieces of fruit a day are more than enough, as they contain sugars.
Which means we should all be making sure we have five portions of stuff from the ground. You know, the green and brown things that don’t taste nearly as nice.
You can dress up your kohl rabi with spices, walnuts, or any manner of ‘jus’, I just can’t get excited about it. And anyway, how much is ‘a portion’ exactly?
Does the single sliced tomato in my trusty lunchbox constitute a portion? Or do I have to tip a sackload down my throat before I start to get the benefit?
(This just in - I’m told a portion is 80 grams. Well, that’s a big help – as long as I remember to take my kitchen scales with me to every restaurant and dinner party.)
I have another problem too. I’m actually trying to cut down on the size of meals I eat. Assuming I still need a little meat and fish for protein etc, how am I going to cram 560g of veg into myself each day without becoming the size of Geoff Capes?
Clearly I understand that this is an important study and the killjoys – sorry, health professionals - who commissioned it are simply trying to help us live longer.
But after removing sugar, the worst fats, carbs, dairy, salt and (of course) red meat from our diets, really, what are we left with? Sitting in a field, munching on beets and trying to get a lick of a passing chicken, presumably.
Drinking and smoking are clearly no-nos these days. A nice refreshing walk in the park could have been an alternative way to find a little pleasure, but with air pollution at its current levels, we’re now being told to stay indoors.
All joking aside, I want to reach old age and stay relatively healthy, so pass me the celery and the juicer, and I’ll suck it up - but it seems like it won’t be long before we discover that everything fun is bad for you.
Perhaps the people that were surveyed didn’t actually live longer – it just felt like they did.
Chas Early is a journalist. He knows he’s only being told what’s good for him, it’s just that he had a damaging experience with a Brussels sprout as a child.
This article is the opinion of Chas Early and not necessarily that of BT.