Saturday, March 28, 2009

Portion sizes of fruit and vegetables

The UK government advises everyone to consume a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. What does this mean in practice?

Fruit – one portion is, for example
  • Half a large grapefruit
  • A slice of melon
  • 2 satsumas
  • One portion of dried fruit counts
    •3 dried apricots
    •1 tablespoon of raisins
    •other types of fruit and vegetables should be eaten to meet the rest of the 5 A DAY target
  • A glass of 100% juice (fruit or vegetable juice) counts as 1 portion
    •But you can only count juice as 1 portion a day , however much you drink. This is because it has very little fibre. Also, the juicing process 'squashes' the natural sugars out of the cells that normally contain them, which means that drinking juice in between meals isn't good for your teeth.

Vegetables – one portion is, for example
  • 3 tablespoonfuls of cooked carrots (6-7 baby carrots) or peas or sweetcorn, 6 asparagus spears
  • 1 cereal bowl of mixed salad
  • Beans and other pulse vegetables - such as kidney beans, lentils and chick peas - count only once a day, however much you eat
  • While pulses contain fibre, they don't give the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables
  • Because they are considered a 'starchy' food, potatoes don't count towards 5 A DAY.
  • However, starchy foods are also an important part of a balanced diet.
  • These portion sizes are for adults. Children should also eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, but the portion sizes may be smaller.

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  1. Hey Jane, It's Karl Fisher ex Zeneca
    It's been a long time! How are you? I'm still in California. I'm at a brilliant company called Amyris. We are finished with our first market entry, artemisinin, a non-profit cure for malaria and now we are making oil from sugar. My latest invention going to market is making squalane from sugar for the cosmetic industry. Replaces shark liver oil.
    email is
    Cool pizza

  2. Hi Karl
    Great to hear from you. Glad that you are continuing to be creative with the chemistry. I often think back to the days of WRC and the good old bisphosphonates. Are you in touch with any of the ex-Zeneca/Syngenta chemists? Best wishes, Jane

  3. How about mushrooms Jane? There are some nice looking Chanterelles in your background. How do fungi figure in '5 a day' ?

  4. Hi Ian - yes - even though they are fungi, mushrooms count as part of 5-a-day (which should really be at least 10-a-day but one step at a time...). Mushrooms are an excellent source of many minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium, and zinc, and phytochemicals. Crimini and portobellos are also very good sources of vitamins B6 and B12. A portion is about 80g, say 4 large portobellos or 3 handfuls of sliced mushrooms. Maybe I'll write some more about mushrooms today :)