5 fruit & veg a day is pretty easy to get if you know how much of each item constitutes 1 portion. The NHS website lists the most common ones so you get a pretty good idea.
Because they are considered a ‘starchy’ food, potatoes don’t count towards your 5 A DAY. (Starchy foods are foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.) We’re not suggesting you don’t eat them, but they should form the ‘starchy carbohydrate’ part of your meal
A glass (150ml) of 100% juice (fruit or vegetable juice or smoothie) counts as 1 portion, but you can only count juice as 1 portion per day, however much you drink. This is mainly because it contains very little fibre. Also, the juicing process ‘squashes’ all the natural sugars out of the cells that normally contain them, which can be harmful for teeth – especailly if you drink a lot of it in between meals
Which reminds me of the rather unappetizing way fruit juice is made commercially. In this article at the Boston globe website, the author of “Squeezed: The Truth About Orange Juice” unravels the sleight of advertising:
IDEAS: What isn’t straightforward about orange juice?
HAMILTON: It’s a heavily processed product. It’s heavily engineered as well. In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn’t oxidize. Then it’s put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it’s ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time.
IDEAS: What goes into these flavor packs?
HAMILTON: They’re technically made from orange-derived substances, essence and oils. Flavor companies break down the essence and oils into individual chemicals and recombine them. I spoke to many people in the industry at Firmenich, different flavorists, and at Tropicana, and what you’re getting looks nothing like the original substance. To call it natural at this point is a real stretch.
IDEAS: Why isn’t orange flavor listed in the ingredients on the carton?
HAMILTON: The regulations were based on standards of identity for orange juice set in the 1960s. Technology at that time was not sophisticated at all . . . I don’t think the concern is so much “are these flavor packs unhealthy?” The bigger issue is the fact that having to add flavor packs shows the product is not as fresh and pure as marketed.
After having read that I generally don’t drink much fruit juice unless it’s freshly juiced. Still, it’s even better just to eat the fruit itself.