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Mom Was Right: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Although the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are well-established, most people still don't eat enough of them. Some people don't like the way they taste or look, and as a result have a hard time incorporating them into their diet; others simply don't know (or ignore) the nutritional value most fruits and vegetables have.

In this study, patients were divided into two groups. One group received nutritional counseling on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, emphasizing the nutritional value of food and its effects on the body. The other group received behavioral counseling, with emphasis on the importance of eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. In addition to food intake, the researchers measured blood pressure and levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene in the blood. Measurements were taken at the start of the study and at eight-week and 12-month intervals.

After 12 months, both groups reported an overall increase in fruit and vegetable consumption. However, patients receiving behavioral counseling had a higher increase in fruit and vegetable intake (1.5 portions per day) than those who received nutritional counseling (0.9 portions per day), and the percentage of those eating at least five portions per day increased by 42 percent in the behavioral group versus 27 percent in the nutrition group. Behavioral counseling patients also demonstrated significantly higher blood beta-carotene levels.

Health care professionals are well-prepared to speak with you about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. If you'd like to change the way you eat and need accurate advice, talk to your doctor today - you'll be glad you did.


Steptoe A, Perkins-Porras L, McKay C, et al. Behavioural counselling to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables in low income adults: randomised trial. British Medical Journal, April 19, 2003: Volume 326, pp.855-860.



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