This article is a response to two topics. The first is the perpetuation of sayings such as “Eat five a day”.
The second is the routine reassurance by my patients that they eat “a lot of fruit” (typically grouped with “a lot of chicken and a lot of fish”). My thoughts on this are as follows:
• All of the other plant based food groups are important to eat, nut just fruits and vegetables. Grains, legumes (peas and beans), nuts and seeds provide a large and diverse group of food items to choose from.
• Short, cute little sayings about food have no place in an adult diet. Just eat a varied diet of whole, unprocessed foods which are fresh, seasonal, and well prepared.
• Fruit is code for sugar for the vast majority of people. Natural or not, too much sugar is harmful.
• People gravitate towards fruit because it is fast (requires no preparation) and can be eaten while driving. These are the antithesis of healthy.
• Fruit is somehow associated with weight loss. Eat enough raw, sugary, and possibly cold fruit, and you can be certain that you will damage your metabolism and gain more weight (see Cooked Versus Raw).
• Most fruits are nutritionally empty relative to vegetables. The most nutritious and balanced fruits are round stone fruits (plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries, etc.) and berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.).
• The average person’s diet is severely lacking in vegetables. Frozen peas and corn, and salads, are all that most people eat. Go to the store, find a vegetable you have never tried, and figure out what to do with it. The greater the variety that you eat, the wider the range of nutrients you will be exposed to.