A claim that eating five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day is “unrealistic” has been argued by both nutritionists and the Lincoln public.

Last week the new chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, said that it can be a struggle for many people to afford the recommended portions.

Dr Stokes-Lampard insisted that starting off with two adult portions, which consist of 80g each, would be a better target to start off with.

However Nutritional Therapist Dr Sonja Macura recommends that eight or nine portions a day would be more beneficial to improving people’s health.

“I do not think it is difficult to consume five portions a day” she said.

“It is relatively easy to include a large salad at lunch or have a homemade vegetable soup.

“I generally request that my clients have at least eight portions per day because in nutritional therapy a client is required to get nutrients solely from their diet.

“We should be consuming vegetables as 40% of our daily diet.

“I do not think there is any reason for not eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.

“Without a healthy diet now you are contributing to poor health in the long term, as well as burdening the NHS which is on its knees from the current diabetes epidemic.”

Local business owner Chris Roberts, of AK Fruits, said: “It depends where you’re shopping. If you come to a fruit and veg market then instead of a net of fruit you can buy individual items which makes it more than affordable for most people.”

“Some people buy for a week at a time and others just stop by for things to last a day or two. In Lincoln we’ve always done quite well so at least some of the people here must be healthy.”

Speaking to Lincoln residents there was a mixed response on the matter.

Alice Stringer, a 21-year-old student, said: “It’s definitely doable. It’s cheaper if you get it frozen or reduced and then I usually put them in smoothies. It’s easy to just snack on apples and bananas throughout the day in place of typical snacks like crisps and chocolate.”

Her housemate Joshua Charles, also 21, added: “Also you can buy a ton of dried fruit for relatively cheap and then just graze throughout the day. Sometimes you won’t hit five a day but other times you’ll go over.”

On the other hand Martin Stephens, 38, said: “If you’re busy throughout the day then it can be hard to get five a day in. You need to prepare before leaving the house early and if you’re in a rush there are easier options to go for.”

And retired 71-year-old Mary Firth agreed, saying: “I don’t have big meals surrounded with piles of veg and a lot of the smaller meals I go for don’t have them. I have a bit of fruit every day but don’t always reach five.”

Finally, another Registered Nutritionist, Dr Lisa Gatenby said: “It’s absolutely not too difficult to get your 5 a day and actually recent research shows that average intakes have increased their rising from 2.5 to nearly 4 portions a day.

“Eating healthily is about making small changes and improvements to what you do already – so swapping the chocolate bar for a banana and adding extra vegetable to your evening meal.

“A Nutritionist has a key role to be able to look at what someone is currently eating and help them to suggest improvements that can easily be made to improve someone’s intake.”

(Photo Credit: Niall Few)