If there is one nutritional message that is universally accepted and endorsed, it is to eat your fruits and veggies. The evidence that the consumption of vegetables and fruit lowers the risk of several chronic disease is overwhelming. Some of you might remember the catchy phrase “5 A Day” from several years ago, this suggests that you should consume a combination of 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. More recently however the message has been, especially with non-starchy vegetables, more is better. Guidelines from the USDA, and American Heart Association, as well studies such as the respected Omni Dietrecommend up to 11 serving of vegetable and fruits a day. Even for a veggie lover, consuming that much can be a challenge, and for someone who is not a big veggie fan, that recommendation is downright intimidating if not seemingly impossible to achieve. As you might remember from Adam’s goal setting class, a goal that is unrealistic is a goal that is not achieved. While I personally believe that, especially with non-starchy veggies, more is generally better, a new study suggest that the old 5 A Day guideline still carries weight. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that eating fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day was linked with a higher chance of dying early. Researches in Sweden found that people eating no fruits or vegetables were 53% more likely to die during the follow-up than those who consumed 5 servings per day. Eating just one serving increased longevity significantly. Surprisingly the researchers found no additional benefit for people who ate more than 5 servings per day.
If you like fruits and veggies and want to exceed 5 serving a day, by all means go ahead. However, if you are part of the 77% of American adults who don’t reach the 5 A Day rule it may seem impossible to reach the recommended 10 or 11 servings. Just think though, if you're only 1 or 2 servings a day away from the target goal, you might give it a shot.