Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – April 21

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Will your five-a-day aid weight loss?

One of the most common pieces of weight loss advice is to ensure that we are getting our five-a-day with reference to our daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

There is no doubt that these foods are a healthy choice and most nutritional guidelines focus on increasing the intake of fruit and vegetables in our diet. However logic would tell us that if we merely add additional food to our current diet then we may not achieve the desired outcome. Eat more food to lose weight? Really?

Most common nutritional advice fails to point out that although fruit and vegetables are undeniably good for us when it comes to weight reduction they should replace some of the unhealthy foods which already form part of our diet.

Fruits and vegetables contain important micronutrients, vitamins, water and fibre but their increased intake should displace unhealthy foods which is not often the message provided.

We often assume that the high fibre content of fruit and vegetables will make us feel fuller quicker and this will prevent us consuming as much high calorie food. Unfortunately research points to the fact that this is not the case and increased intake of fruit and vegetables is not causing the desired weight loss.

To make things worse, the last 10 years has also seen an explosion in the use of blenders and smoothie makers. You can barely turn on the shopping channels without having one pushed your way along with a host of tasty recipes.

The problem lies in the fact that many believe that by producing a smoothie containing multiple fruits they are making a healthy choice. Smoothie recipes containing more vegetable matter, protein and less fruit can be a nutritious alternative to a planned meal but most of us prefer a sweeter drink and so increase the fruit content.

By doing so we could be adding a huge amount of calories to our normal daily intake in the belief that we are doing the right thing. Worse still juicers will leave you with all the calories while leaving the fibre behind.

We know that these drinks are often added to an already poor diet to make us feel better about what we are putting in our body. To put it simply you cannot eat more and hope to weigh less even if what you are adding is fruit and vegetables.

So should we eat more fruit and vegetables? Absolutely, yes! But only if they are replacing other unhealthy foods in your diet. Please replace, do not add.

Rob Graham, lead exercise professional, Healthy Options.