How many potatoes and how many carrots are there in your plate of vegetables?
The answer is two and a half, according to a new report from food and nutrition consultancy, Bolay Nutrition Information.
The research, published in the journal Nutrition, examined the nutritional content of more than 7,000 UK supermarket foods.
It found that:• All the vegetables on your plate are more likely to contain potatoes than carrots, with the exception of sweet potatoes (which are mostly potatoes)• All vegetables contain higher amounts of fibre than carrots• Sweet potatoes are more nutrient dense than potatoes• All carrots contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C and iron• Sweet potato contains less fat and sugar than carrot.
The report also found that most people who consume a large quantity of vegetables and fruit have a more favourable digestive system than those who eat a smaller amount.
“The majority of people who are healthy eat at least two servings of vegetables a week, whereas a minority of people can consume one to two servings a day,” said Dr Emily Stirling, lead author of the study.
“These differences in intake can have a big impact on our health, with over one in three people having a diet high in vegetables and fruits, and one in six having a lower intake.”
“It’s important to remember that the majority of us are just trying to balance out our calorie needs with other foods.”
In the US, the average person eats 2,400 calories of vegetables each day, while in Britain the average is around 2,100 calories.
But that is far more than the average amount consumed by people in the developing world.
“We know that many people in developing countries are struggling with very high intakes of nutrients and we know that the amount of food we eat is important to our health,” said lead author, Dr Kate Walker.
“But it’s not just the food that’s important.
It’s the balance of what we eat and how much we eat.”
People need to eat more vegetables and avoid eating less, which is really important if we want to avoid the development of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
“There are three main types of vegetables, depending on the region and the food source.
Sweet potatoes, carrots and cauliflower are all low in fat and have less than half the calories of white potatoes.
There are also several types of legumes, including lentils, peas and beans.
There is also a range of fruits, with red and yellow varieties, which contain as much as one-fifth of the calories as white or brown.”
There’s a lot of variability across different regions and food sources, and the key is to be mindful of what you eat,” said Professor Michael Brown, co-director of nutrition research at the Institute of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Oxford.”
It might be better to go for something a little bit sweeter, like a vegetable-based dessert, or maybe a bit higher in protein, like fruit.
“Dr Walker said it was important to recognise that the quality of vegetables varies.”
Some people might like a bit of more flavour or a bit more nutrition than others.
“You might like something like carrot with a little cream, or something like a potato salad, which could be really good.”
For the report, Bolays nutrition information was sourced from a variety of sources, including food manufacturers, food suppliers, nutritionists and consumer products.• Nutritional content of all UK food and drink, including all varieties, vegetables, fruit, legumes and beans, in grams per 100g.• How many servings of each vegetable or fruit were consumed by UK adults aged 15 and over in 2012-13.• The percentage of people aged 15 to 64 who consumed a particular type of vegetable or food in the last month.• Average daily calorie intake for people aged between 15 and 64.• Calories per kilogram of body weight for people in different age groups, including those aged 65 to 79, 80 to 99, and 100 and over.• Estimated daily amount of fibre for each fruit, vegetable and protein.• Percentage of the total daily intake of fibre.• Amount of fibre per kilo of bodyweight for all people.• Daily intake of protein per 1,000 calories of total daily calories.
Source: Bolay nutrition info