Health & Disease

Americans Are Not Consuming Enough Fruits and Vegetables

For a number of years the CDC has been studying the fruit and vegetable intake of Americans based on national dietary guidelines. Currently, the guidelines recommend 2-4 servings of fruit, and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily. In 2013 state and national surveys determined that on average, only 13% of americans met the recommended daily serving of fruit. As for vegetables, only 9% met the recommendation.

These numbers seem less surprising when looking at the health conditions of most americans. Studies show that in the last 30 years obesity rates have doubled in adults, and tripled in children. A more recent report showed that about one third of adults living in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

Closeup on medical doctor woman giving a choice between apple and donut

Increases in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers are closely correlated with improper nutrition and obesity, and these numbers continue to rise despite the efforts of nutritionists and groups such as the CDC and the American Heart Association to educate and encourage proper nutrition in adults and children.

Fruits and vegetables are an imperative part of our diets. They directly impact our overall health and wellness, as well as our bodies’ ability to prevent diseases and fight illnesses. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, have been shown to occur less frequently in individuals who eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

Many other conditions, such as nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues, can also be the result of insufficient daily servings of fruit and veggies.

So what makes fruit and vegetables so important for our diet anyway? The answer lies in the nutritional makeup of these foods. Fruits and vegetables are low in energy density. They are also full of fiber and water. This means that they add to the balance of your daily portions without overloading you with calories. Their water and fiber content aids your body’s hydration level and digestive system. They also control appetite, decrease cholesterol, and aid in the removal of toxins from the body.

Fruit and veggies are also a large contributer of the daily vitamins and minerals our bodies need in order to thrive. Vitamins A, B, and C are found in various types of fruit and vegetables, and aid in immune function, wound healing, iron absorption, metabolism, and hormone production; along with numerous other important bodily functions.

Boy, girl and baby with variety of fruit and vegetable. Colorful rainbow of raw fruits and vegetables. Child eating healthy snack. Vegetarian nutrition for kids. Vitamins for children. View from above

In response to the results of these studies, the CDC recommends better dietary practices earlier in life, and for school districts, daycares, work places, and grocery stores to actively participate in encouraging improved dietary and personal wellness practices and nutritional education with emphasis on the importance of fruits and vegetables as a part of a healthy diet. So if you ever needed a reason to start your own permaculture garden, here is the perfect time.


  1. Yeah. The thing is, scientists said people should eat less in total and less (red) meat, but because there’s a big lobby behind meat the dietary guideline became to eat more fruit and veggies, instead of less meat (so they still advice the proper balance, but you’re eating twice as much as is healthy). So even if people followed the guidelines they’d be obese…

    I like my fruits and veggies, but 5 servings of veggies? I couldn’t eat anything else…

      1. Rosalyn, where did you get that silly idea?

        Obviously meat from animals pumped full of antibiotics, hormones and the like is less healthy than organic meat. But that is not the point. The point is that there is a limit to how much meat you can eat healthily -even if it’s the good kind- and it’s much less than people in western countries, especially the USA, are eating. Especially red meat. Meat with your meal once or twice a week is considered the healthiest amount (a maximum of 500 gram).

        Turning grass into meat is the most inefficient use of land possible. You need 70% more agricultural land for the same amount of nutrients, just because of it. 30% of the same land area can produce the same amount of nutrients in vegetables (and no, you won’t be missing any of them), and you’ll be needing thousands of Liters of water per Kg of meat less. The only way meat is more productive is on land where grass and veggies just won’t grow and you can have some goats eat whatever will grow.

  2. The clearest picture that the stats reveal is that our children are literally starved for proteins and Omega 3 oils, as they fill up on starches and sugars. This is notably true whether a school-provides lunch or its one they prepare at home. This is the bi-product of manufactured consent. Industrial food giants, biomed outfits like Monsanto, and an FDA/USDA run amok have led the course of discussion on food and nutrition for the past few generations, and people still increasingly take the bait. The only way out is to reconnect with the actual growers, a group now so splintered their participation hardly enters the fray even under the context of today’s trendy “farm to table” dining options. Drone delivery, the next great thing? Gimmie a break! Oops, looks like I need to be running along. Time for turning the compost, kids!!

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