The 5 a day challenge sits within 25 countries, across three continents, urging people to eat more fruits and veggies, and some people are more likely to purchase a food item if it has the 5 a day message on it. But what does the 5 a day logo really mean for our health?
5 a day lies
The big worry with the 5 a day scheme, is that it has not been properly regulated and provides an open playing field for food companies.
McDonalds, the official sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics, I hate to point fingers, but come on, a fizzy ‘healthy’ kid’s drink they’re flogging as one of your five a day portions, yet has 12 teaspoons of sugar in it! No chance. Parents need to remember that fruit juice – while being high in Vitamin C – is also full of sugar.
Keep it above board
The official logo, shown below, is regulated by the Department of Health and can only be displayed on foods that don’t contain added salt, sugar or fat. But this logo is rarely seen in the supermarkets. Instead food companies have created their own versions, which is not subject to the same regulations.
One ready-meal bearing a ‘one of your 5-a-day’ logo contained almost 8 grams of salt – more than the recommended allowance for the entire day.
Even if you do get your five 80g portion of fruit and vegetables that doesn’t mean you’re getting all the right nutrition for good health. People are convinced that fruit and vegetables are a particularly good source of vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables offer some vitamins – vitamin C and the vegetable form of the fat-soluble vitamins A and vitamin K1 – but your body will be able to absorb these only if you add some fat, such as butter or olive oil.
So what I’m saying is that there’s a lot more to good nutrition than just your 5 a day and when buying packaged foods, even if it does have a portion of your five a day, one you can’t be certain this is true, if not labelled with the official logo, and two you need to watch out for salt, sugar and fat levels.
Eat Balanced Views
So the 5 a day mantra is not the be-all-and-end-all of healthy eating, it’s just part of a balanced diet. We’ve chosen to stay clear of using the 5 a day logo. Our products can provide so much more than just this! And we’re proud to be different!