What are we teaching our children?

What we are doing when it comes to teaching our children about food?

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, not even if I have said it unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense". I'm not the first person to say that, and it does capture the essence of how I feel we should approach any new piece of information.

Take 5 a day- fruit and vegetables that is. Who said it and why? The same 5 a day for

- a 5 year old child of 25lbs?

- a forty year old woman of 145lbs?

-a thin old man of 125lbs,

-a man of 6ft 4 and a child of 3ft 5?

Broad brush strokes too- absolutely any fruit or veg - any old juice no matter how sweet, or fruit or vegetable, tinned or fresh, and as big or as little as you want? All equally good. Children and adults are taught and remember the 5, but forget the portion size. It is all very convenient.

Then add in- the same 5 a day for a 25 year old woman with IBS, a 40 year old diabetic who weighs 280lbs, a 60 year old man with ulcerative colitis?

How on earth did people survive, and avoid extinction in communities like the Innuits and the Masai without the 5 a day?

If it makes no sense at all, why are we teaching our children that it's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but, on a par with death and taxes.

Ask your 6 year old about 5 a day, and they will probably "know" all about it. Ask your 3 year old to see if they teach it at nursery.

I am a GP and I have never been sent any information on the evidence behind 5 a day by the Department of Health in my 29 years as a doctor even though I am sent information on a daily basis about numerous other important items. It is a lot to ask people to buy and to eat- 25 pieces of fruit/veg daily=175 pieces a week for a family of 5, when there is no evidence for it.

I am told it was made up and agreed at a convention of fruit and veg sellers with the government representatives of the day, and there is no scientific evidence at all for it. I will let you look it up for yourself. Next time your child, or doctor, or dentist or teacher mentions 5 a day, why not look for the evidence together, on a computer or smartphone.


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