Some parents still believe that chips are a healthy vegetable, according to a new survey.

They\’re not?

She added that although many people considered potatoes to be a vegetable, they did not contain as many nutrients as other vegetables and were more correctly associated with starches such as rice and pasta.


Almost eight out of ten said that they did not think that frozen fruit and vegetables counted towards the Government recommendations of five portions a day.

You what?

How many years have they been telling us about this five a day plan? And the message is still this confused?

"There is a lot of research which shows that eating 400 grams, or five portions, of fruit and vegetables"

While there are of course huge gaps in what I know and don\’t, I\’d put forward the thought that I\’m probably better informed than the average citizen out there: and even I have had a very hard time finding out what is the definition of a "portion" in the sense of five portions a day. 80g is it now? Which isn\’t, in fact, all that much, is it?

But how much money have the been spending on promoting this over how many years, to get this really rather poor result? And why has the result been so bad?

14 thoughts on “What?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Ssshhh! Let’s recognise when we’re well off and NOT encourage them to run a more effective campaign. After all, I’ve been telling the Other Half that a twist of lemon in my Gin and tonic counts as one portion for years.

    Mind you, their campaign is utter and total bollocks. We have been here before with alcohol, cholesterol and so on. Truth be told, a little bit of whatever you like is probably good for you and those appalling little sh!ts in the BMA and the Department of Health ought to f*ck off. Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if smoking cured heart disease.

  2. “Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if smoking cured heart disease.”

    Why not…?

    It ‘cures’ fish and meat, after all….! 😉

  3. How can it be that even in the 21st century we practice segregation along genetic lines in the vegetable community? Where only the ‘right’ sort of vegetables qualify for government schemes?

    Equal rights for the potato! (and onions – I’m reliably informed they don’t count either.)

  4. And doubtless, the “five a day” figure has all the scientific authority and rigour of “28 units”… ie, it was made up on the spot as it seemed like a “reasonable level”.

    BTW, SoMFS.. Smoking appears to provide a level of prevention against Alzheimer’s disease to the tune of about 75% less occurence in smokers… 🙂 (Not that I smoke, so I’ doomed already).

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    JuliaM, all I can say is that I could kill a decent ham at this moment. And smoked salmon! As a non-smoker I have no problems with the idea it might turn my lungs the same way.

    Pogo, I have heard about the smoking and Alzheimer’s link but as Alzheimer’s is a disease of advanced old age I’d like to see some evidence that this is not caused by the simply fact smoking tends to kill people young. Perhaps Terry Pratchett could take it up as a control. After all, what does it matter if he gets lung cancer now?

    But I am with you on the “reasonable level”. The number of changing diets I have been told I should follow is absurd. I remember that nice triangle from primary school – the one with the meat at the top and carbs at the bottom. Anyone else get that one?

    I think the sensible thing to do is to punch any civil servant you happen to meet involved in such processes. Perhaps if they are eventually excluded from civil society they will all f*ck off and die? Speaking as a potential juror I would never convict. But then as a frequent flier of the male persuasion, I wouldn’t have convicted Naomi Campbell either.

  6. SMFS I don’t have a link to hand but the study I read on that specifically took that into account, ie the people being studied smoked and were of comparable age to the non smokers, thus taking those who died young out of the equation.

    It would take a liar/rotter of the grade of a government minister to stand there and say smoking prevents alzheimers because you’ll die before you get it!!

  7. Julia:

    That’s been my defense for 55+ years. And, if I just keep saying it (and smoking) for another 50, I’ll live to at least 100!

  8. I’m gonna be an anorak here, but to answer some of the points raised:
    Obviously potatoes are pretty nutritious – they have more nutrients per gram I believe than other carbohydrates used as subsistence crops (i.e. grains) that’s why they can support whole populations e.g. the Irish pre-famine
    Second,actually 400g of vegetables is quite a lot. Think about it next time you pick up a 1 lb (sorry 500g!) bag of brussels sprouts – you would have to eat nearly the whole bag yourself each and every day! It’s a ridiculous amount – it might be do-able by gorillas but not by humans.

  9. “Second, actually 400g of vegetables is quite a lot.”

    Come on! It’s fruit *and* veg.

    I just weighed some of what my son calls ‘coloured food’: 1 small apple 130g; 1 tomato 118g; 1 mango 382g; 1 onion 250g.

    Not exactly gorilla territory unless you’re talking about brussels sprouts, which are disgusting.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Zorro, it might make the Minister a rotter, but the liars are those that say smokers cost the NHS. They don’t. They save it millions in no small part to the fact they tend to die before they get something expensive. And if it prevents Alzheimer’s I might just take it up. I’d prefer lung cancer. In other related news, anyone see the Dutch have banned cafes allowing people to smoke tobacco with their marijuana?

    Gene, I bow before the Master. Do you think that my Queen Empress is going to buy it though? I tell her it is vital for malaria protection already.

    Eva, I am afraid I am going to have to go with Jacqueline on this one. The aforementioned Empress has a favourite restaurant where they serve a 400 gram beef steak (or what I would call a pound of beef out of principle). I promise, eating that much is hard. I only just have room left for the chips. The salad, I am afraid to say, is beyond me. So 400 grams is a lot more than you might think.

  11. @SMFS

    Where does it say we’re supposed to eat a pound of veg, raw, at one sitting? My point was, we probably get 400g of veg/fruit a day anyway without even thinking about it if we eat reasonably well and leave the salad for last.

    The steak place sounds good…;)

  12. I meant *don’t* leave the salad for last, but eat it first. Coffee (a known vegetable) hasn’t taken effect yet.

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