With Fruits and Veggies, More Matters
Forget '5 a Day' - eating more is better. Here are 18 ways to get more produce power into your diet.
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
So you've been trying to eat right, working to fit in your "5 a day" servings of fruit and vegetables. Well, the government has some news for you: Forget five a day. More is better.
The CDC and the Produce for Better Health Foundation have launched a national campaign with the message, "Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters."
The new slogan replaces the old "5 a Day" campaign, which dates back to the early '90s. The reason? Under the U.S. government's latest food guidelines, five servings of fruits and vegetables may not be enough. Adults need anywhere from 7-13 cups of produce daily to get all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables - including possible protection against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Making It Work
But for many of us, it's been a challenge to fit even five servings of fruits and veggies into our daily diets. How can we hope to eat as many as 13 cups? It's really not so difficult, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. She offers these tips to help you get there:
The New Slogan
A year of consumer testing and research went into development of the "More is Better" slogan, says Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Produce for Better Health Foundation.
The research found that only 50% of consumers were aware of the "5 a day" message, and even within that group, only 1 in 5 was meeting the recommendation, says Pivonka. So the foundation knew a motivating message was needed.
"We wanted to be sure that the message was encouraging, and communicated that eating more is better for you, with an emphasis on making improvements to your diet even if you don't meet the specific recommendation," she says.
It's also a message that dovetails with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the individualized "My Pyramid" that replaced the old Food Guide Pyramid. To help consumers better understand the recommendations, advice for produce intake is now given in cups instead of servings, and is tailored to age, gender, and activity level.