Nearly half of Brits have days when we eat ZERO fruit or veg, according to a new study.

The World Health Organisation advises that only about one in three people in the UK eats enough fruit and veg, but this new study, commissioned by Dole Packaged Foods Europe, suggests the problem is even worse.

It found that only 1 in 4 people consume the recommended five portions a day and 47 per cent of people admit that on some days they do not eat ANY fruit or vegetables at all.

Recent research by Imperial College London suggests that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day could help to prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.

Can we really expect people to eat 10 portions a day when they aren’t even eating 5?

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “The five-a-day target is the foundation of a healthy balanced diet and is an achievable way to help prevent a number of diseases.

“Whilst consuming more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day may be desirable… adding pressure to consume more fruit and vegetables creates an unrealistic expectation.”

Seriously? Surely Public Health England should be raising the benchmark, not settling for a low target just because it seems more realistic.

Kung fu legend, Bruce Lee said: “Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

Personally I think we should set the recommendation closer to 15 portions per day, that way even if we only achieve 50% of the target we will still be exceeding the current recommendation and this has significant implications for health of our families.

The Imperial College London study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that when compared with eating no fruit or veg a day:

  • 200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%
  • 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%
  • 200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%

A portion counts as 80g (3oz) of fruit or veg.

The researchers do not know if eating even more fruit and veg would have even greater health benefits as there is little evidence out there to review.

Dr Dagfinn Aune, one of the researchers, said: “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance, they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”

The easiest way I know to increase your intake of vegetables and fruits is to drink your way beyond five-a-day.

I should point out that the NHS guidelines juices and smoothies say:

“One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, so further glasses of juice don’t count towards your total 5 A DAY portions. A smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one 5 A DAY portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.”

I think the key point in this statement from the NHS guidance is “depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.”

I disagree with the view that only one glass of juice counts, but I suspect the guidance is largely focused on processed, shop bought juices and it is important to remember that Freshly extracted juices and pasteurised bottled juices are NOT THE SAME. In fact, they are not even close.

In addition to heat pasteurisation, there is another method of processing juices, known as High Pressure Processing (HPP) that Deli 24, a company claiming to be the first UK contract processing facility to offer it, describe as a cold ‘pasteurisation’ system.

HPP can extend product shelf life for up to 45 days and involves enclosing the packaged food or juice in a vessel filled with water and applying intense pressure (up to 87000 psi) to it. This has been shown to kill pathogenic bacteria, yet unlike heat pasteurisation it is claimed that the process has minimal effect on the nutritional attributes of foods and drinks, unlike thermal processes.

However, in the 2012 book Advances in Food Processing Technologies it states, “High pressure can modify the microstructure of fruits. Changes in the fruit structure usually result from damage in the cell structure.”

Common sense tells me that a process which kills all the bad stuff is likely to affect the good stuff too. And the processing is not the only thing to be aware of.

The evidence for how freshly extracted juice boosts health can be clearly seen be reading any of the juicing success stories featured here on

Juicing is not only about weight loss

I’ve personally improved both my physical and mental health since I started juicing in early 2010. I no longer need to take any of the prescription medication that I used to rely on and I have gone from being an out of breath couch potato to running marathons. Juicing (and consuming more vegetables and fruits) has given me a second chance at life.



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