How Much Do Smoothies Contribute to Recommended Daily Fruit, Vegetables

Confused about how you’re meant to eat and drink your way to the government’s recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Picking up one of Tesco’s new “3-a-day” smoothies might seem like a smart idea, since each bottle promises to deliver three portions of all-important fruit and vegetables.

But according to Department of Health guidelines, a smoothie can only count as two portions, however much of it you drink.

“Our advice is to limit the fruit and vegetables intake from just juice and smoothies, as the processing reduces the amount of fibre and increases the amount of sugar in the final product which can damage your teeth,” says a health department spokesperson. “This is why we recommend that smoothies should count for no more than two of your five (servings) a day.”

Government guidelines say smoothies contribute up to two portions of fruit and vegetables. But Tesco, the British supermarket and retail chain, claims a new range to contain three. Who is right?

It turns out that the government’s five-a-day guidelines aren’t backed up by any hard and fast regulations. So although companies that use the official five-a-day logo must meet certain criteria, manufacturers are free to set their own guidelines that ape the party line but differ in the details.

For its part, Tesco says that it’s simply making it easy for shoppers to eat more fruit and vegetables. And the fact that its smoothies contain a portion of juice, plus a vegetable puree and a fruit puree, means that people are getting three kinds of healthy hit.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We work hard to help our customers eat healthily and these drinks are a tasty and convenient way to boost people’s intake of fruit and vegetables, while also increasing people’s awareness of the importance of eating five portions of fruit and veg each day…”

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