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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
People 'fool themselves on diet'
Fruit is good for you
Many people mistakenly believe they eat enough fruit and vegetables, research shows.

A Gallup survey conducted for the British Dietetic Association found that only three out of ten people eat the recommended amount of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

However, most people who took part were convinced they were eating a healthy diet.

Many of those who knew their diet was lacking blamed the high cost of fruit and vegetables.

Others said it was too much trouble to prepare and cook fruit and vegetables. Some said they simply did not like the taste.


There was widespread confusion about constitutes a portion.

Only about six out of 10 people realised that two tablespoons of frozen vegetables was a portion or that one tablespoon of dried apricots could count.

Almost 80% of people questioned wrongly thought a medium sized jacket potato counted as a portion.

Potatoes are regarded as a starchy food and not part of the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables.

Next month, dieticians in the UK will be working with the public to promote the British Dietetic Association's "Give me Five" campaign which aims to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Loretta Cox, chairman of the Association, said: "Dietitians are seen as a trusted source of nutrition advice by members of the public and during June will be available to provide practical ideas on how people of any age can eat more of all types of fruit and vegetables with a balanced diet."

What counts

The government's National Food Survey indicates that the average person consumes around three portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and cooked fruit and vegetables all count towards the recommended daily requirement.

Fruit juice also counts, but only once a day, however, much is drunk.

Beans and pulses also count only once. Dishes such as pizza, curry and crumble count as long as they contain a good portion of fruit or vegetable.

Foods that do not count include potatoes, spaghetti and other types of pasta, diluted fruit squashes, jam, and tomato ketchup.

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