Why don't potatoes count towards your five a day?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Timmy Boy, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Hi all,

    So potatoes don't count towards your five a day, even though they are vegetables and even though they contain valuable nutrients.

    Apparently, the reason for this is that they are commonly used in place of starchy foods (like bread or pasta). At least, this is what the NHS website says.

    I'm no nutritionist and I openly invite a wider explanation here, because I just don't see the logic of that last sentence. Surely, how I choose to "use" potatoes has absolutely nothing to do with their nutritional value? If I made a carb-conscious sandwich using vegetables instead of bread, they wouldn't magically lose their nutritional value, would they? I mean, if they contain vitamins, they come from the ground, and they are a whole food... what's the problem?
  2. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I'd hazard it's because idiots would get a bag of chips for lunch, more chips for dinner and notch those up as "2 of my 5 a day...I'm eating pretty well!".
    The "5 a day" isn't about accurately describing food or nutrition. It's about encouraging healthy eating by using a simple mnemonic and catch phrase.
    And having "chips" in the same category as a "banana" or "broccoli" wouldn't be encouraging the healthy eating that the campaign is all about.
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Another example...a banana doesn't lose it's nutritional value if I smother it with ice-cream, whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate sauce.
    But that would hardly be what the creators of the 5 a day campaign have in mind when they think of the kind of thing they want to promote.
  4. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Surely the NHS could just clarify this as opposed to making misleading, unscientific, illogical propaganda statements and treating us like idiots? It is possible to boil and steam potatoes rather than roasting/frying/mashing with a metric ton of butter (although that is gooooooood...).
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  5. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Nah. They aren't targeting you and me that can pick apart such things, make choices, read through information and act accordingly. Many people, especially the people they most need to target wouldn't get that far into it.
    They are trying to make an impact on people that already eat loads of potatoes (chips basically) in a simple and easy to understand way.
    I think the nuance you are talking about would be lost in such a large campaign and all people would remember is that "potatoes count yippee!...that mcdonalds I had at lunch had potatoes AND a gerkin in the burger so that probably counts as 2".
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Maybe I'm being too harsh on "the public" (i don't think I am :) )but that'd be why I removed "potatoes" from the list of vegetables.
  7. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Isn't the 5 a day reasoning either flawed/false anyway?

    Again, I'm no nutritionist myself but I grew up around food and cooking and basically kept to a simple balanced food. I tend to eat a lot of certain veggies and meats and not much of others. Simply out of preference.

    As long as you don't stuff your face with junk and train lots. Everything "should" balance out.
    (note I do not have rippling veiny 6 pack for this reason)
  8. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Yes. It has its origins in economics rather than nutrition.

    The funny thing is that nutritionally chips (or fries for the Americans) tend to have a higher vitamin content than boiled potatoes, and given that following the supposedly healthier boiling potatoes are often slathered with butter or cream, chips can often be healthier than mash (as part of a balanced diet).
  9. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Because we tend to cook the crap out of potatoes so they don't have as much bang for their buck as things like spinach
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Big Macs count towards your five a day.
  11. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    I'm not even sure Big Macs count as a type of food source.
  12. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Hope they do or I'm screwed.
  13. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    Is this the same sort of argument like: "beer is made from hops and barley. Hops and barley are grains so beer is a salad. Drink more beer" ? :)
  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    This from wiki...

    So it would seem the NHS could simply be following the WHO advice when promoting "5 a day"?
  15. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Pizza is a vegetable.
  16. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Wine is fruit.
  17. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Its because there big bags of carbohydrates and as such have less quantity and range of nutrients then 'real vegetables'.

    The entire idea of the 5 a day campaign is to help people replace overly large servings of carbohydrates with things that we don't eat enough of, and as a nation we eat too may carbs as it is.

    ps IIRC sweet potatoes do count, and are nicer.
  18. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    Maybe, but again... If that's the reason then why don't they say so, rather than focusing on how they are traditionally eaten? By that logic sweet potatoes are no better.

    Edit: in fact, it would appear that sweet potatoes count irrespective of how they are cooked: http:// http://www.lovesweetpotatoes.com/nutrition.aspx

    Further edit: if you will forgive the slight digression, I just read that canned vegetable soup counts towards your five a day. This sounds great, but I thought juices and smoothies only counted as one portion based on the fact that the fibres have been broken down, whereas it would seem that vegetable soup does not have this restriction even though the fibres are also broken down :s surely a vegetable soup is just a hot smoothie?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  19. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I would have thought they were a bit more scientific than that.
  20. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    its very hard to make recommendations on a national level.

    if they were more scientific they would have people eat more fruit, veg and fish than they do but people find it hard to comply to even the minimum.

    they make recommendations on the lowest standard possible that people can stick to but is still a meaningful change.

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