Fruits and vegetables provide, in great quantity, vitamins and minerals that are essential for daily function, as well as long term prevention of disease and decrepitude. However, until very recently we have not known how much to eat. We have all been told the vague guidelines of “5 to 9 servings a day” but what is a serving?
The 800g Challenge is backed by the meta-analysis by Aune et al. (2017) that states that 800 grams of fruits and veggies per day provides the optimal amount of vitamins and minerals (along with other helpful compounds) to not only live better today, but potentially prevent disease later. You can read a bit more here.
I was asked to explain what the 800g Challenge is in simple terms.
The simple points to keep in mind:
- 800 grams of combined fruits and vegetables per day
- Fresh, frozen, or canned all count.
- Do not include juices or dehydrated fruit.
- NO food is really off-limits, as long as you achieve your 800 grams per day.
I have been implementing this for over a week now and it much more attainable than I originally thought. Thankfully, most fruit is much more dense than the majority of vegetables. Since starting, my energy is better as well as my breathing. To give you a bit of insight into my normal day, here is what Saturday consisted of for me:
Orange Juice (juices do not count toward total)
110g Spinach (weighed raw, then cooked)
Some peanut butter
***Small snack/break from yard work:
97g Banana (150-53 peel)
100g Raw Spinach
Total for the day – 829g
***There was also a PB&J after watching the Oakland fireworks, but we won’t discuss that because there was no fruit or veggies to add in.
It is important to note this is an observational study. It cannot be concluded that eating this volume of fruits and vegetables will definitively improve your health or lifespan. Thankfully, fruit and vegetable consumption has very few downsides.