From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Embargo expired: 6/25/2014
Source Newsroom: University of Alabama at Birmingham & Daily Mail & Esme Floyd



Newswise — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It is a commonly recommended weight-loss tactic to increase the feeling of being full by consuming more fruits and vegetables, but that may be another diet recommendation dead-end, according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The recommended daily serving amount for adults is 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables, says the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate initiative.

Kathryn Kaiser, Ph.D., instructor in the UAB School of Public Health, and a team of investigators at UAB, including Andrew W. Brown, Ph.D., Michelle M. Bohan Brown, Ph.D., James M. Shikany, Dr.PH., and David B. Allison, Ph.D., and Purdue University investigators performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of data of more than 1200 participants in seven randomized controlled trials that focused on increasing fruit and vegetable intake to see effects on weight loss. Their results show that increased fruit and vegetable consumption per se does not reduce body weight.

“Across the board, all studies we reviewed showed a near-zero effect on weight loss,” Kaiser said. “So I don’t think eating more alone is necessarily an effective approach for weight loss because just adding them on top of whatever foods a person may be eating is not likely to cause weight change.”

Despite the belief of some that increased intake of fruit may increase the risk for weight gain, Kaiser says that was not the case at the doses studied.

“It appears that an increase in servings does not increase weight, which is a good thing for getting more vitamins and fiber in one’s diet,” Kaiser said.

While Kaiser recognizes the importance of eating fruits and vegetables for their many other health benefits, expectations for weight loss should be kept in check.

“In the overall context of a healthy diet, energy reduction is the way to help lose weight, so to reduce weight you have to reduce caloric intake,” Kaiser said. “People make the assumption that higher-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables will displace the less healthy foods, and that’s a mechanism to lose weight; but our findings from the best available evidence show that effect doesn’t seem to be present among people simply instructed to increase fruit and vegetable intake.”

“In public health, we want to send positive and encouraging messages and telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables seems far more positive and encouraging than just saying ‘eat less.’ Unfortunately, it seems that if we just get people to eat more fruits and vegetables without also taking explicit steps to reduce total food intake, lower weights are not achieved,” said senior author, David B. Allison, Ph.D., associate dean for science in the UAB School of Public Health.

Because this recommendation is so widely shared, Kaiser believes these results should bring change to public health messaging.

“There are many studies where people are spending a lot of money figuring out how to increase fruit and vegetable intake, and there are a lot of healthy things that this helps; but weight loss isn’t one of them,” Kaiser said. “I think working on more multimodal healthy lifestyle interventions would be a better use of time and money.”

Kaiser says it is important that more quality research be performed to investigate how multiple foods may interact to create healthy weight loss that can be maintained.

“We need to design mechanistic studies to understand these things better so we can help the public be best informed and know what to do when it comes to weight-loss efforts,” Kaiser said. “Overly simplified messages don’t seem to be very effective.”

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $5 billion annually on the state.

The five pillars of UAB’s mission deliver knowledge that will change your world: the education of students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; research, the creation of new knowledge; patient care, the outcome of ‘bench-to-bedside’ translational knowledge; service to the community at home and around the globe, from free clinics in local neighborhoods to the transformational experience of the arts; and the economic development of Birmingham and Alabama.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on all subsequent references.


Back home here in our Daily Mail we are also told to eat more fruit and veg.

Read more: or catch up below, courtesy of the Daily Mail and their writer Esme Floyd.

In an article by by ESME FLOYD of we learn about the latest research that suggests getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet is the single most important way to keep your body healthy and disease-free.

Most of us are aware of the benefits – anything stacked full of vitamins and minerals for boosting the immune system, cancer-fighting antioxidants to help keep disease at bay, and gut cleansing fibre is proven to be good for you.

Despite being told we should be eating five portions a day, the average intake in Britain is just over three, and one in five of us eat hardly any fruit or vegetables at all. But how do you know what a portion is, and can you get enough without turning into a carrot crunching gym bunny?

The most common misconception, says Sarah Spanner of the British Nutrition Foundation, is that fruit and veg have to be raw to be healthy. Dried, cooked, canned and frozen fruit and vegetables are just as good, and although people often make the mistake of forgetting about fruit juice, it still counts.

But don’t go drinking five glasses a day, she warns. Although fruit juice is an easy way to sneak in some vitamins, it should only count for one portion because it lacks the fibre of other fruit.

Tinned or stewed foods count too, but be careful how they are stored – try to avoid the high salt content of foods preserved in brine. And if you’re watching your weight try to avoid sugar or syrup – go for fruits in fruit juice instead.

According to nutritionists, a portion of fruit or vegetables is equivalent to roughly 80-100g. For fruit, this is equivalent to one generous slice of large fruits like pineapple or melon, half a medium fruit like grapefruit, a whole orange, banana or pear.

One portion also equals around two plums or kiwis, a tablespoon of dried fruits, two to three tablespoons of smaller fruit including strawberries, tinned fruit or a small glass of fruit juice.

As far as vegetables go, a portion is roughly two tablespoons of carrot, swede, broccoli, cabbage, beans or three to four tablespoons of small vegetables like peas, sweetcorn or a dessert bowl of salad.

A serving of baked beans, kidney beans, chick peas or lentils count too, says Sarah Spanner, but this should only make up one of your daily portions.

But don’t be fooled into thinking roast potatoes or chips are going to keep you healthy – potatoes don’t count as vegetables, and neither do artificially flavoured foods like yoghurt, ice cream, jam, fruit sweets or drinks like milkshakes and cordials which don’t contain fruit juice.

Different fruits and vegetables have different qualities. For instance, blackberries, strawberries and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, while tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, carrots and other bright foods are high in antioxidant betacarotene which reduces cancer-related free radicals or molecules.

Leafy, green vegetables and broccoli are high in carotenoids and folate which help prevent ageing, and onions, apples and grapes contain cholesterol-reducing flavonoids.

To make sure you’re getting the best out of your diet, make sure you have a variety. Opting for lots of different colours or eating seasonal fruit and vegetables is a simple way to ensure you get a range of different nutrients.

Here, we show you some some easy ways to sneak your daily allowance into your diet. The following plan will give you all the fruit and vegetables you need for a healthy day’s eating:


• Sprinkle your cereal with freshly chopped apple, three tablespoons of strawberries or half a banana to make up the day’s first easy portion.

• Slice up a nectarine or apple and serve it with live yoghurt.

• Top a warm bowl of porridge with raisins, dried apricots or a tropical dried fruit cocktail.


• A glass of fruit juice (150ml) for a simple way to get that health boost.


• Go for a large salad or veggy sandwich – and eat as much as you like<.

• Slice up two tablespoons of tomatoes, peppers or a handful of spinach leaves and add them to your meal.

• Choose mixed vegetable or minestrone soup as an easy way to achieve your goal of five portions of fruit and veg.

• Polish off your lunch with a handful of red and green grapes (with or without cheese).


• Munch on an apple, orange, peach or a few plums mid-morning

• Treat yourself to a fresh fruit smoothie instead of tea in the afternoon.

• Snack on a handful of dried fruit, carrots or celery.


• Serve up three to four tablespoons of mixed frozen vegetables with your dinner.

• Roast a red pepper in the oven to brighten up your dinner plate and for its lycopene (antioxidant) value.

• Stew some apple and berries and serve with ice cream – nobody said they had to be calorie free!.

As a final tip, try and keep a bowl of fruit handy so if you feel peckish it is easy to pick up and munch. After all, it is almost calorie free so what better excuse is there for allowing yourself to be tempted.

So pack your lunch box with fruit and  a carrot of two  and remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Worth a try.

We are all so busy who really has time to be ill anyway.  Just remember this and tell yourself daily, “BANISH ALL ILLS”.  You will be surprised just how well you really feel. Mind of matter  I think they call it.   If we all did this daily we might even put the NHS out of business. Now there is a thought.  I am off to do a bit of banishing myself. Back tomorrow Jeanne





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