Here’s the last post I made in shorter form and a couple of local bits added as an article in today’s Jersey Evening Post 🙂
The Nationals recently headlined with the information we should be doubling our fruit and veg consumption from five portions a day to 10. Are they kidding? Today I want to say: be careful what you believe.
I’m not anti-veg and fruit: they are tasty, add variety to our meals (and make up most of the platters for non-meat eaters), and the fibre, while not digestible by us, helps prevent constipation and is essential food for your good gut bacteria.
Nonetheless, vegetables don’t contain as many nutrients as they did even a generation ago because of our excessive use of NPK fertilisers, and many of the benefits of the vegetables may be outweighed by the pesticides they are bathed in.
Taking the suggested portion guidelines to heart means you would need 30+ tablespoons of vegetables daily, so start planning your eating day now!
Sadly, I have had to make many hospital visits over the past year, and what were patients usually given for supper? Sandwiches.
That is wrong on so many levels but, regarding 10-a-day, does this mean the patients are given 5-10 portions of vegetables and fruit over breakfast and lunch, Senator Green?
Let’s have a look at the study being quoted. The data reviewed were generally based on people remembering what they had eaten in the previous year (can you remember, with accuracy, what you ate even last week?) and extrapolating from there.
In addition, the reviewers failed to look at other life factors such as if people smoked, were poor, etc.
We then heard, ‘While five portions a day did reduce disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating double that.’ Vague! They did not clarify what diseases were reduced by what percentage and from what starting point.
Back when I was teaching science, I wouldn’t even accept that from my GCSE students.
The study authors used scientifically-weak words like ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘might’ and ‘our results suggest’. This does not fill me with confidence in a so-called scientific study whose conclusions are then being disseminated by unquestioning media to the public as fact.
The papers added, ‘Fewer than a third of British adults are thought to meet even the present target.’ This is most probably true. Here, then, we need to be asking questions such as: What else are they eating? Why are they not eating more fruit and vegetables? Do they smoke? Do they exercise? What can we do to help?
We may not like the answers, but we need to know. What are the stats for Jersey? Does our Health Department know?
The study trumpeted, ‘If everyone on the planet ate ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day, 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented each year.’ That soundbite is an interesting little calculation at best and we would use it in a science-geography-humanities class to explore why this would not happen (yet, anyway), and what we could do instead.
The study also says vegetables are ‘essential for maintaining a healthy weight, which our own evidence has shown reduces the risk of 11 common cancers.’ There is not one properly conducted study out there that proves that point.
Don’t accept that eating vegetables is the way to losing weight, and look instead at what can increase your weight: medications, candida overgrowth, sugar, grains and, for some, dairy.
(Let’s also spare a thought for the underweight: if they eat more vegetables, will they fade away? Probably not, but conclusions reached in this study suggest that.)
In fact, I believe they have it the wrong way around. Instead, think on this: what if it’s not ‘eating vegetables makes you healthier’, but ‘healthier people often have more money, more access to fresh foods, eat more vegetables and less junk food’.
Let’s look at that as the premise and take it from there. Then let’s look very carefully at additional factors such as the nitrate levels in water we are drinking: I cannot accept Environment’s wailings that the levels of nitrates in our water are not harmful to health.
What to do, then? My general advice is, eat real food, and get outside, and you will do a lot better.
Sing a lot too: that always helps!