The Food Group Experts All Agree Upon

6/29/2017 10:52 AM

Fruits and veggies comprise the only food group that health experts universally agree we should all eat more of every day for improved health and a longer life.  Take a minute to think about that.  With the almost daily changing and conflicting recommendations on what we should and shouldn’t eat – this is the one recommendation from experts that doesn’t change and never waivers. The only nutrition news you may hear about fruits and veggies is yet another health benefit to eating more.

This is why it is so concerning that certain groups who want to promote one growing method over another, often resort to disparagement of healthy and safe produce.  This does lead to consumer confusion and two peer reviewed studies show that this may be having a negative effect on consumption of both organic and conventional fruits and veggies.  And, that is detrimental to health experts’ efforts to improve diets.

One of the recommendations from the peer reviewed research was this:  “Given the potential implications of competing messages about healthy eating, it is important that those who want to improve food production techniques and those who want to improve nutrition cooperate to create consistent messaging about healthy eating.” Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future published in Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment

We agree.  And, this is why the AFF conducted its own consumer research project.  That research showed that science based information positively impacts consumers, reassures them about the safety of produce and successfully removes safety fears created by activists as a barrier to consumption.  Some examples of those reassuring facts:

  • Decades of nutritional research shows that increasing consumption of conventional and organic produce can improve health and prevent diseases. Not only are conventionally and organically grown fruits and vegetables safe and nutritious, Americans should be consuming more of both to reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
  • A peer reviewed study found that if half of Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving each day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.
  • An analysis conducted by a toxicologist with the University of California’s Personal Chemical Exposure Program showed a child could eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or veggie in a day and still not have any health effects from pesticide residues.  This illustrates how low residue levels are, if present at all.
  • According to the federal Food and Drug Administration, washing fresh produce before eating is a healthful habit. You can reduce and often eliminate pesticide residues if they are present on fresh produce by washing them with cold or warm running tap water.

If we advance facts, not fears, then maybe the simple and consistent advice from health experts to eat more fruits and veggies every day can shine through.  Wouldn’t that be a positive step forward for public health?

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