The 5 A DAY message has been dealt a blow in a warning that, due to the risk of tooth decay from natural sugars, fruit consumption should be limited to meal times.
British Dental Association (BDA) adviser Damien Walmsley told a national newspaper “if you are having fruit, keep it to meal times”.
“That `may` go against the `recommendation of` five portions of fruit and vegetables a day,” he told the Daily Mail, “but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip on to the tooth.”
The BDA told the Fresh Produce Journal: "That is our view. We would make the point that these foods should be eaten at meal times. We would say have a healthy diet but don't snack on fruit all through the day and avoid acidic fruit juices."
However, Nigel Jenney, chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), has said fresh fruit and vegetables are a better for people than many other snack foods.
“It’s vital that we look after young children’s teeth as well as giving them a head start to establish healthy eating patterns, but this doesn’t mean that fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be eaten outside mealtimes,” he said.
“Fresh fruit and vegetables are convenient, healthy snacks, and are far more nutritious than processed alternatives which can be high in fat and sugar.”
Jenney said that with recent reports that adults are failing to eat the recommended 5 A DAY, and increasing levels of obesity among young children, the British society “cannot afford to be complacent” about the challenge we face to encourage greater consumption of fresh produce.
It follows research published by King's College London Dental Institute last year that suggested the acid in apples could make eating one worse for teeth than drinking a fizzy drink.