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Five-a-day 'not healthy enough'

File photo dated of a bowl of fruit on a table. Credit: Chris Young/PA Wire

Five helpings of fruit and vegetables a day may not be enough, new research suggests.

Seven portions every day could have a more protective effect, experts said.

The NHS recommends that every person has five different 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The suggested intake, based on World Health Organisation guidance, can lower the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to NHS Choices.

But a new study suggests that eating seven or more helpings of fruit and veg a day can reduce a person's risk of dying of cancer by 25%.

Eating this many portions can also reduce a person's risk of dying of heart disease by 31%, the authors said.

Children eating too much salt, study shows

Children aged five and six are eating 0.75 grams more salt than the recommended daily amount and teens are exceeding the limit by around 1.5 grams, researchers claim.

The recommended daily levels of salt according to age are as follows:

  • One to two years - 2g salt per day (0.8g sodium)
  • Four to six years - 3g salt per day (1.2g sodium)
  • Seven to 10 years - 5g salt per day (2g sodium)
  • 11 years and over - 6g salt per day (2.4g sodium)

The study showed that 36% of children's intake of salt comes from a combination of bread-based and cereal products, while meat provided an additional 19%.

An example of salt levels in popular foods (taken from a sample of popular brands):

  • Children's cereal: around 0.3g salt per 30g
  • A slice of white bread: around 0.35g salt per slice
  • Pork sausages: around 0.3g per sausage
  • Ready salted crisps: around 0.45g per packet

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Warning over children's salt consumption

More than a third of children's salt consumption is from breads and cereals, researchers have found.

A bacon sandwich Credit: PA Wire

Analysis of young people's diets found that they eat an "unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis". 36% of this salt comes from cereal and bread-based products, according to the new research.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, found that many children are exceeding the recommended intake of salt on a daily basis.

Farmed salmon 'should be sterilised'

File photo of of salmon fillets. Credit: PA Wire

Farmed salmon should be sterilised to prevent them breeding with wild fish and introducing genetic weaknesses, experts have urged.

Millions of salmon escape from fish farms each year, and can get into wild spawning populations where they can reproduce and introduce negative genetic traits.

"Farmed salmon grow very fast, are aggressive, and not as clever as wild salmon when it comes to dealing with predators.

"These domestic traits are good for producing fish for the table, but not for the stability of wild populations". Lead researcher Professor Matt Gage said.

Surprising foods packed with sugar

Consumers are being urged to cut their sugar intake to 5% per day by the World Health Organisation.

Health campaigners Action on Sugar have warned some foods are deceptive about the amount of sugar they contained.

  • Some fat free yoghurt can contain up to five teaspoons of refined sugar
  • Tomato based pasta sauce was found to have three teaspoons of sugar per jar
  • One tablespoon of shop bought white coleslaw was found to have four teaspoons of sugar
  • "Enhanced" or flavoured water was found to have as much as 15g of sugar
  • Some processed bread was found to have as much as 3g of sugar

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Health experts back halving of sugar consumption

Health experts have backed a move by the World Health Organisation to reduce sugar intake from 10 per cent to 5 per cent of total energy intake per day.

Experts have backed the WHO's plans to recommend halving daily sugar consumption Credit: Thomas Eisenhuth/DPA/Press Association Images

The WHO has argued that halving sugar intake would bring "additional health benefits", but experts have called on the WHO to make their 5 per cent recommendation official - it is currently only a draft proposal.

Experts have also criticised the UK government for its handling of the food and drinks industry, which is currently only required to sign up to voluntary codes on sugar levels.

Health experts warn sugar intake should be halved

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that people should cut their sugar intake in half.

The WHO has warned that sugar consumption levels should be halved Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The WHO currently recommends a daily intake of 50g for adults - equivalent to about six level teaspoons - but is drafting recommendations that this should be halved.

The proposals follow warnings from England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, that a "sugar tax" may be needed to reduce sugar levels in food and drink.

Labour: Imposing sugar tax 'is not fair'

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger wrote on Twitter:

Medical chief: 'We have normalised being overweight'

Britain has "normalised being overweight" and needs to get a tough grip on the UK's sugar addiction, the chief medical officer has told MPs.

Speaking at the health select committee, Professor Dame Sally Davies warned promoting physical education would not be enough to solve the obesity crisis.

I worry that we have re-sized a women's dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student. We have normalised being overweight.

We have to find a new way - not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves - but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.

We have a generation of children who because they are overweight and lack activity may not live as long as my generation; they will be the first generation who will live less.

– Professor Dame Sally Davies
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