Five a day is the in thing now as regards healthy eating. Five portions of fruits and vegetables per day is key to good health. And now, the dietary researcher Dr Duane Mellor is stressing on 3:2 method. What is this method? Should one start using it? Is the justification right?
Five a day
WHO stresses five a day concept as part of healthy eating. It implies that one should consume at least five servings or portions of fruits and vegetables every day. This promotes good health.
In 2021, researchers from Harvard University carried out a study on 100000 adults. They followed them up from 1984 to 2014. And they found from this three decades data that fruits and vegetables consumption every day is vital for life longevity and healthy living. They said that eating two fruits and three veggies in a day is best for the body and mind.
Moreover, their research revealed that not all fruits and vegetables act similarly. Green leaves such as kale, lettuce and spinach and fruits like berries and citrus fruits show maximum benefits. Also, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes and fruits in juice form did not show appreciable positive health impacts. It failed to reduce chronic diseases and early deaths.
The 3:2 method
Nutrition researcher, Dr Duane Mellor advocates the 3:2 method for health benefits. He explains that having three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruits in a day is health-promoting. His justification for higher intake of veggies compared to fruits is that vegetables have lesser calories and sugars and hence are better.
Duane told MailOnline that having five a day is an oversimplification of the whole thing. And he insisted on calling it 3:2 method of eating. He feels it should be updated. He also feels that veggies have more varieties and hence one should eat more of them compared to fruits.
But registered dietitian, Rhiannon Lambert feels that when the five a day is also not reached, the 3:2 method has still time to be considered. She said:
‘At the moment, according to the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey, only 24% adults and 11% children meet the current guidance of five-a-day alone,’
Rhiannon’s expert opinion
Rhiannon has penned a book with the title The Science of Nutrition. In this, she advises five a day of fruits and veggies. She adds:
‘This could include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruit and veg,’
She feels that calories counting of these vital food items is unnecessary since they have other nutrients that calls for their daily consumption. Rhiannon explains:
‘To caveat this, fruit does not contain added or free sugars when eaten whole, so it’s still perfectly okay to eat them when looking at overall health outcomes, and for weight management.”
‘Plus, eating fruit is strongly encouraged as part of a balanced and healthy diet for the positive health benefits, relating to gut health, immunity, and heart health, that are associated with them.’
She told Metro UK:
‘Use the numbers if you wish as a tool, but know it is not the ultimate answer to defining nutrition and health.”
‘Fruits and veg should not be feared for the amount of calories they contain as these are typically much lower than many other snack options, such as high fat/sugar options.”
‘They also have many important nutrients within them, such as vitamins and minerals, fibre, antioxidants, carbohydrates, that are needed for our body’s to function properly and form the basis of many meals across the globe.’