Fruits & Vegetables: myths about their consumption busted!

Myth 1. Adults need to eat five servings of vegetables in a day.

Facts: Adults may need 5-12 servings of fruits and vegetables, depending on their total calorie requirement for the day; but at the very least five servings of fruits and vegetables need to be eaten

one serving of fruit/vegetable= 1/2 cup of cut fruits/raw or cooked vegetables/1 cup of leafy vegetables

= one small apple, banana or other small sized fruit

=3/4th cup of melons and berries

= 2 tablespoons of raisins

= 1/4th cup of dried fruits such as dates, figs etc.

where one cup= 200 ml

Myth 2: Focus on eating leafy vegetables and stay away from starchy ones

Fact 2: You need to make sure that you eat a variety of vegetables and keep their proportions in the recommended range given below

  • Starchy vegetables: nearly 1/3rd of all vegetables/day : white potatoes, corn, green peas, plantain (raw banana), parsnip, squash
  • Red/orange vegetables: nearly 1/3rd : tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin
  • Leafy vegetables: nearly 10%: broccoli, spinach, mustard greens, green salad leaves (romaine lettuce) etc.
  • Other vegetables: nearly 1/3rd : iceberg lettuce, green beans, onions, Cauliflowers, cabbage etc.

Myth 3:Diabetics should not eat mango and banana

Fact 3: Even if you are a weight watcher or a diabetic, you do not have to give up on any fruit (, banana)

Most fruits have low GI index, loads of fiber, potassium and antioxidants, all good stuff for these conditions. Melons, pineapple, dates and raisins have medium GI index and are therefore can be eaten but the portion sizes for some fruits have to be kept in control, e.g. raisins should not be eaten more than 1-2 tablespoons/day

Check out the ‘carb units’ contained in these vegetables

Myth 4: Diabetics and weight watchers should not eat potatoes

Fact 4: Even if you are a weight watcher or a diabetic, you do not have to give up on any starchy vegetable totally

All starchy vegetables except potato have low GI and give nearly 80-100 calories/100 gms, so eating them in vegetables, in proportions given above would do you no disservice

Even though the glycemic index of potato is high, consuming it in small quantities is alright; potato is a rich source of potassium and vitamin C

If, you want to eat starchy vegetables in bigger amounts occasionally, such as mashed potato etc.just remember to eat them as a substitute to roti/rice

Myth 5:Foods containing fruit are all good for health

Fact 5: Beware of sweetened fruit juices/canned fruits in syrup/ fruit flavored drinks/yogurt/smoothie etc.

Always check the label for added sugars, and choose products with no added sugar; fruits preserved in their own juice (not in syrup) and 100% fruit juice (not juice/ fruit concentrate based drinks) are good for consumption

Myth 6: Fruit juices have all the benefits of fruits

Fact 6: Whole fruit is better than even 100% fruit juice/homemade juice

Whole fruit has additional fibers and nutrients and they keep you satiated longer and with juices it is easy to drink more than you should and pile up calories

If you or your children love fruit juice try to dilute it with sparkling water or club soda etc. so that you get less calories and limit juice intake to 150 ml/day or less

CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet