Style & ShowbizHealth

Are fruit and veg as healthy as we think?

Are fruit and veg as healthy as we think?

Just as our taste preferences seem to change as we grow older, it appears tastes can vary from generation to generation, too. And the current trend is for things that are sweet - not surprising when sugary fizzy drinks and sweet snacks make up a part of many people's diets. But unfortunately that means people making a conscious effort to be healthy could also be at a disadvantage, as manufacturers are making fruit and vegetables sweeter in order to keep up.

The New Scientist claims that children's most-hated veg, Brussels sprouts, have been tailored to make them more palatable. Sweeter versions are labelled 'kid friendly' but don't contain the same bitter, natural toxins that ward off pests.

"We still have bitter sprouts on the market, but the majority of what’s introduced these days is milder," Peter van der Toorn, who leads the vegetable breeding division of Syngenta in the Netherlands, explained to the publication.

It's become a part of human nature to stay away from foods with a bitter taste, as they are often associated with poison. But we need these natural toxins, or phytonutrients, to maintain good health.

"The reason bitter phytonutrients are cancer preventing is that they can destroy cells. They are healthy because they are toxic," Adam Drewnowski, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, revealed.

Essentially, eating the less bitter versions of fruit and veg could be pretty pointless warns Jed Fahey, a molecular scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

"Eating fruits and vegetables without phytochemicals would in many ways be analogous to drinking the empty calories of a can of soda," he said.

"Yes you could survive on de-bittered fruits and vegetables, and they would help maintain life, but not good health."

And that's not the only bad news vegetable lovers have had to face: some experts are now warning kale might not be such a super food after all.

According to yoga and wellness guru Lauren Imparato, who runs I.AM.YOU.Studio in New York, leafy greens can cause all kinds of complications. Among them are indigestion, kidney stones and thyroid issues, she told the MailOnline.

If you want to avoid any issues, try to source your fruit and veg from a local farm and stay away from sweetened, "child friendly" varieties.

And if you're a kale lover, just eat it in moderation and cool your intake if you notice any of the aforementioned problems. If symptoms don't subside with moderated intake, see your GP.

Cover Media