Easy on the juice!

The five a day recommendation is a well known, well advertised campaign to get people eating more fruit and veg.

This sounds like a great campaign initially and well meaning – many people don’t eat enough veg, that’s clear!

The problem with this kind of campaign is that it has become diluted. Is this due to other outside interests. Companies love to include their products on the recommended list of items counting towards your five a day. It is here where we’ve somehow gotten lost. Somewhere along the line, fruit juice made its way onto the list.


This recently featured in a BBC article, with calls to remove fruit juice from the recommended five a day. I would agree.

Fruit – good, fruit juice – not so. Fruit juice is a very easy way to get a lot of fruit sugar without the bulk and fibre of the fruit. Dr. David Perlmutter describes in his book Grain Brain: “Natural fruit has relatively little sugar…… If you juice several apples and concentrate the liquid down to a 12oz beverage…. you get a blast of 85 sugar calories that could just as well have come from soda” (this is a similar amount of sugar calories as 12oz can of Coke). That sugar will get converted to fat in our liver. Dr. Robert Lustig, in his book Fat Chance, goes into more detail on the issue of too much fructose in the diet.

It does get slightly ridiculous, in my opinion, when spaghetti hoops can be said to count towards your five a day. because of the tomato sauce (which has been reported here). Just because some food product contains one of your five a day does not mean it’s good for you. Would having five cans of spaghetti hoops be good for you, satisfying your daily nutritional requirements?

It again comes down to the processing and ‘non-food’ ingredients. A tomato is natural, spaghetti hoops aren’t. It is also an error to group fruit and veg in the same category, as if they are the same, containing the same nutrients. They are not the same.

Do we need to follow a recommended list of five a day or should we just eat natural food? You decide.

Real food doesn’t have a label.


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