What are the benefits of eating fruits

Importance of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition

Eat and drink wholesome food according to the 10 rules of the German Nutrition Society. V. (DGE) - this also includes consuming 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Because vegetables and fruits are not only important suppliers of nutrients, they can also reduce the risk of diet-related diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. But what about fruit and vegetable consumption in practice? The following article provides an overview of the available data on fruit and vegetable consumption in Germany and shows the nutritional benefits of fruit and vegetables.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables in Germany

National Consumption Study II

The National Consumption Study II (NVS II) carried out between 2005 and 2006 provides representative data on fruit and vegetable consumption in Germany. In the study, a nationwide sample of the German-speaking population between the ages of 14 and 80 living in private households was examined. Data on food consumption collected using the diet history method is available for 15,371 participants (MRI 2008a).

According to this, women consume an average of 270 g of fruit per day and men 222 g / day. The consumption of vegetables (without juice, including mushrooms and legumes) averages 129 g / day for women and 112 g / day for men. If you also include dishes based on vegetables, e.g. B. Salads made from cooked vegetables and raw vegetables, as well as vegetable dishes with sauces or gratin, the figures almost double (women 243 g / day, men 222 g / day).

59% of those questioned (65% of men and 54% of women) do not meet the current DGE recommendation for fruit consumption of 250 g / day. If the intake of fruit juices / nectars is added (men 270 g / day, women 232 g / day), 43% of the participants are still below the recommendation.

The DGE recommendation for vegetable consumption of 400 g / day is below 87.4% of the respondents (88.5% of the men and 86.3% of the women; taking into account the vegetable-based dishes). Including the consumption of vegetable juice (men and women 4 g / day) is hardly relevant.

A good 4% of all participants (2% of women, 6% of men) stated that they had not consumed any fruit including fruit products in the four weeks prior to the survey, 0.8% (1.1% of men, 0, 5% of the women) of the respondents did not eat any vegetables during this period.

With increasing age, the consumption of fruit and vegetables increases and the consumption of fruit juice decreases in both sexes. Among men, fruit consumption is highest among 65 to 80 year olds at 298 g / day, and among women it is highest among 51 to 64 year olds at 330 g. Men and women aged 19 to 24 consume the least amount of fruit (161 g / day and 212 g / day). The consumption of vegetables, mushrooms and legumes increases with age from 14 to 18 year olds (men 88 g / day, women 98 g / day) to 51 to 64 year olds (men 122 g / day, women 141 g / day).

Among women in the lower social class (school leaving certificate, occupational position of the main breadwinner, net household income), the consumption of fruit is lowest at 251 g / day and increases to 284 g / day in the upper class. The consumption of vegetables, mushrooms and legumes increases in women from approx. 117 g / day or 115 g / day in the two lower classes to 147 g / day in the upper class. A similar picture emerges for men at a somewhat lower level.

Fruit consumption is on average higher among women and men in the new federal states than in the old federal states (MRI 2008a).

Federal Health Survey

Older data from the nutritional survey integrated into the 1998 Federal Health Survey show that vegetable consumption was around 200 g / day for both men and women. They also show that women ate more fruit than men (women: 163 g / day in the old and 221 g / day in the new federal states, men 135 g / day in the old and 169 g / day in the new federal states ; Mensink et al. 1999).

The DGE recommendation of 650 g of fruit and vegetables per day was realized in most age groups by less than 20% of the people and in young men even by less than 10%. However, if the intake of fruit and vegetable juices is taken into account, the recommendation was met by 30 to 40% of the people in most age groups (Mensink et al. 2002).

VELS and KiGGS

Current data on food consumption in children and adolescents were provided in the Nutrition Report 2008 based on the "Consumption Study to Determine Food Intake of Infants and Young Children (VELS)" (infants from 6 months to children up to 5 years) and the EsKiMo nutritional module of the study on the health of Children and adolescents (KiGGS; children and adolescents aged 6 to under 18) shown (DGE 2008).

The amounts of fruit and vegetables recommended in the optimized mixed diet of the Research Institute for Child Nutrition Dortmund were only achieved on average by children between the ages of 1 and 2 years (see Table 1). In the case of infants and toddlers, it was noticeable that the consumption of fruit and vegetables did not increase with age, but remained roughly the same or only increased very slightly or even decreased.

While 22% (boys) and 26% (girls) of the 1 to under 2 year old toddlers achieved less than half of the recommended fruit consumption, this proportion increased to 29% (boys) and of the 2 to under 4 year olds 37% (girls) and among 4 to under 5 year olds to 46% (boys) and 49% (girls). However, 8% of boys and 7% of girls aged up to 5 years consumed more than 1.5 times the recommended amount of fruit. Of the 6 to under 12 year old children, 17% of the boys and 21% of the girls achieved the recommended fruit intake, of the 12 to 18 year old adolescents 16% of the boys and 26% of the girls.

The mean consumption of vegetables among the under 12-year-olds was lower than the consumption of fruit. Overall, 70% of the boys and 72% of the girls in the 1- to under 5-year-olds received less than half and only 4% the recommended amount of vegetables in the optimized mixed diet. Only 6% of the 6 to under 12-year-olds (no clear differences between boys and girls) and 19% of the male and 30% of the female adolescents achieved the recommended consumption quantities for vegetables. Although boys generally eat more, girls in all three age groups ate more fruit on average and also more vegetables in the groups of 12 to under 13 year olds and 13 to under 15 year olds than boys.

VELSEskimo
Age (years)0,5 < 11<44<56<77<1010<1212<1313<1515<18
♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀♂/♀
Consumption recommendation *
for fruit
and vegetables (g / day)
120­150200200220250250300/260350/300
Vegetable consumption (g / day)81/7262/5961/7590/93106/107102/119176/209204/218225/231
Fruit consumption (g / day)125/109117/106108/113148/150135/142128/141171/203185/187182/232
* Consumption recommendation in the optimized mixed diet of the Research Institute for Child Nutrition Dortmund (FKE 2007)

Data on the consumption of fruit and vegetables in Germany

The data described on “consumption” relate to the amount of food actually consumed, which was determined in consumption studies (e.g. NVS). The data from the agricultural statistics and the sample income and consumption (EVS) presented below do not represent actual consumption quantities, but rather the “consumption” of food.

In terms of agricultural statistics, these are the macroeconomic quantities of food available for consumption in Germany per head of the population recorded at the production or wholesale level. In the case of many products, some of the specified quantities are not consumable (e.g. bones, shells) or are not intended for human consumption (e.g. use as animal feed) and food imports and exports are only estimated.

The EVS, a household budget survey, records income and expenditure in private households and provides data on grocery purchases. The absolute level of consumption information from the two sources mentioned is higher and less informative than consumption data; What is essential, however, are the changes that can be seen from year to year and that indicate trends in food consumption in Germany.

Sample of income and expenditure

In the income and expenditure sample (EVS) 1998, an average per capita consumption of 260 g / day for men (131 g / day fruit and 129 g / day vegetables) and 334 g / day for women (162 g / day Fruit and 172 g / day vegetables) (Gedrich 2005). Fruit and vegetable juices were not taken into account. Consumption was slightly higher in the new federal states than in the old federal states (men 284 vs. 255 g / day; women 369 vs. 325 g / day) (DGE 2004).

When comparing the mean consumption quantities of the individual age groups, the highest consumption was mostly found in the group of people aged 51 and over. In the groups with the highest intake (men aged 65 and over and women between 51 and under 65), the average consumption was a good 200 g of vegetables and 200 to 300 g of fruit per day (DGE 2004).

In the European database DAFNE (Data Food Networking) for Germany, based on the EVS 1998, slightly higher figures for fruit and vegetable consumption can be found (on average 370 g / day or 493 g / day including juices). However, this is the evaluation of a random sample, in which, in contrast to the EVS data for the nutrition report, inter alia. Food losses through spoilage, shrinkage and, above all, non-edible ingredients were not taken into account.

According to the Association of the German Fruit Juice Industry e. V. (VdF 2009) the consumption of fruit juices and nectars in 2008 was 37.4 l per capita, for 2009 a provisional value of 37 l is given. Mathematically, this corresponds to a daily consumption of around 100 g.

Agricultural statistics

Trend analyzes based on agricultural statistics showed that vegetable consumption increased significantly from 1995 to 2006 by an average of 1.1 kg per capita and year. During the same period, fruit consumption increased significantly by 1.4 kg per capita and year. The increase is mainly due to an increase in the consumption of apples (1.1 kg per capita per year), while the consumption of bananas decreased significantly by 0.3 kg per capita per year. Overall, the consumption of vegetables and fruit has risen continuously since 1995, although the increase has been weakened compared to the agricultural statistics data for 2002 (DGE 2008).

Frequency of consumption of fruit and vegetables in Germany

Telephone health survey

In the telephone health survey (GSTel04) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) (2nd wave), 70% of women and 50% of men stated that they eat fruit or vegetables every day. With increasing age, the proportion of women and men who eat fruit or vegetables every day increased continuously.

The proportion of women and men who eat fruit or vegetables every day was slightly higher in the new federal states than in the old. While men from the lower social class were least likely to eat fruit or vegetables regularly, the consumption of fruit and vegetables among women was independent of social class (Ellert et al. 2006).

KiGGS

The frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents can be derived from evaluations of the representative child and youth health survey (KiGGS) of the RKI. The retrospective survey using a nutrition questionnaire shows that around half of the girls (55%) and boys (47%) consumed fresh fruit at least once a day. The recommended daily repeated fruit consumption is rare.

Around 13% of boys and 14% of girls eat cooked vegetables every day, around 21% of boys and 29% of girls eat raw vegetables at least once a day. Salads and raw vegetables are preferred among all types of vegetable preparation.

Both the daily fruit and the daily vegetable consumption in children and adolescents decrease with increasing age. In general, fruit seems to be more popular than vegetables with children and adolescents. Girls eat fruit and raw vegetables more frequently than boys (Mensink et al. 2007).

Awareness of the “5 a day” campaign

The correct meaning of the “5 a day” campaign (“eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day”) was correctly recognized by around a third (29.0%) of the participants in NVS II in the years 2005 to 2006. One third of them are confused with the recommendation “eat 5 meals a day” or stated as unknown. The higher the school leaving certificate, the more often the “5 a day” campaign was correctly recognized. Women know the correct meaning of “5 a day” more than twice as often (39.9%) as men (17.7%). The importance of not knowing was stated by 47.2% of men and 26.1% of women (MRI 2008b).

In the telephone health survey (GSTel04) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) (2nd wave), 30% of women, but only 11% of men, said they had heard of the "5 a day" campaign (Ellert 2006) .

The importance of the “5 a day” campaign was again queried in a current, representative study on nutritional knowledge in Germany. The study is based on the “nutritional IQ test”, an online test which, in addition to questions on current topics, also includes some questions used in earlier studies in order to be able to show trends over time. When asked about the importance of the “5 a day” campaign, 52% chose the correct answer “5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day”. However, 48% of the respondents considered the answer “5 meals a day” to be correct (Austel et al. 2011).

In summary, it can be stated that the consumption of vegetables and fruit increases with age and social status. In addition, the amount consumed by women is greater than that of men, and slightly larger in the new federal states than in the old federal states. The current data from NVS II are in line with earlier data from the 1998 income and expenditure sample and the 1998 nutrition survey; they show that the consumption of fruit and vegetables among adults in Germany is around 350 to 400 g / day on average.

Contribution of fruits and vegetables to the supply of nutrients

The nutritional-physiological advantages of fruit and vegetables include a low energy density, the lack of cholesterol, usually a low fat content and at the same time a high content of vitamins (B vitamins, vitamin C, carotene), bulk and trace elements, secondary plant substances and fiber. Fruit and vegetables are among the most energy-poor foods with a high nutrient content, i. H. they are characterized by a high nutrient density.

According to current estimates, it is less individual ingredients than the variety of biologically active substances in fruit and vegetables and the nutritional pattern achieved through high consumption of fruit and vegetables that have positive effects on health. This includes the “displacement effect” triggered by a corresponding consumption of fruit and vegetables in the sense of a lower consumption of animal foods and thus a lower consumption of e.g. B. of saturated fatty acids.

Therefore, the current recommendation of the DGE provides for the daily intake of around 400 g vegetables and 250 g fruit (DGE 2009). With a portion size of approx. 125 g, this amount corresponds to 5 servings. Because of the different phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables, the full range of vegetables and fruit should be used.

The consumption of an average of approx. 400 g of vegetables and 250 g of fruit per day as part of a weekly plan based on the nutritional circle contributes significantly to the intake of fiber and critical nutrients, as in the following example (woman, 65 years, 55 kg, 1600 kcal) shows1:

  • Almost 50% of the dietary fiber supplied comes from fruit and vegetables (57% of the D-A-CH reference value / approx. 17 g / day).
  • Vegetables are the most important source of folate, they provide 38% of the intake of folate (36% of the D-A-CH reference value), together with fruit 48% of the dietary folate (46% of the D-A-CH reference value) come from this food group.
  • 21% of the calcium supplied (25% of the D-A-CH reference value) comes from vegetables and fruit. Vegetables, such as B. certain types of cabbage are a low-fat source of calcium.
  • 45% of the iron supplied comes from fruit and vegetables (72% of the D-A-CH reference value); however, the bioavailability of non-heme iron from plant foods is inferior to that of heme iron from animal foods.
  • The large quantitative contribution to the supply of these nutrients and dietary fiber is made with a small contribution to the energy supply: approx. 250 g of fruit and 400 g of vegetables provide 19% of the energy.

The current data from NVS II and EsKiMo (see page 114 f) allow the actual contribution of the recorded energy, fiber and nutrient intake from consumed fruit and vegetables to the total intake to be estimated.The amounts of fruit and vegetables consumed by the participants in NVS II contributed to the intake of fiber and critical nutrients as follows:

  • For men and women, approx. 34% and 42% of the dietary fiber intake comes from fruit and vegetables.
  • Vegetables (including dishes based on vegetables) provide approx. 20% or 25% of the supplied folate, together with fruit approx. 27% or 35% of the dietary folate come from this food group.
  • 9% and 11% of the calcium supplied come from vegetables and fruit.
  • 17% and 23% of the iron supplied come from fruit and vegetables. Note the poorer bioavailability of non-heme iron from plant foods compared to heme iron from animal foods.
  • In men, 9% of the total energy intake comes from vegetables and fruits, in women 14%.

The data also show that the two food groups make an outstanding contribution in terms of quantity to the supply of retinol equivalents,? -Carotene and vitamin C (MRI 2010). The food groups “vegetables and vegetable products” and “fruit and fruit products” also contribute significantly to the supply of retinol equivalents,? -Carotene, folate and vitamin C as well as dietary fiber in children and adolescents (DGE 2008).

It should be noted that the nutrient intake quantities determined in the NVS II from the sources of fruit and vegetables still differ significantly from the quantities on which the nutritional group is based.

literature

  1. Austel A, Mickelat S, Heseker H, Ellrott T: Nutritional knowledge in Germany. A representative study. Nutritional review 58 (2011) 304-311
  2. DAFNE Data Food Networking. http://www.nut.uoa.gr/DafnesoftWeb/; accessed on July 13, 2010
  3. German Nutrition Society (Ed.): Nutrition Report 2004. Bonn (2004)
  4. German Nutrition Society (Ed.): Nutrition Report 2008. Bonn (2008)
  5. German Society for Nutrition: Fruit and Vegetables. It's the amount that matters. DGEinfo (1/2010) 89
  6. German Nutrition Society, Austrian Nutrition Society, Swiss Nutrition Research Association, Swiss Nutrition Association (ed.): Reference values ​​for nutrient intake. Neuer Umschau Buchverlag, Neustadt a. d. Weinstrasse, 1st edition, 3rd fully reviewed and corrected reprint (2008)
  7. Ellert U, Wirz J, Ziese T: Contributions to federal health reporting: Telephone health survey of the Robert Koch Institute (2nd wave). RKI (Ed.), Berlin (2006)
  8. FKE (Research Institute for Child Nutrition): optimiX®: Recommendations for the nutrition of children and adolescents. FKE, Dortmund (2007)
  9. Gedrich K: Econometric cross-sectional analyzes of nutritional behavior in Germany based on a sandwich theory of nutritional behavior and the data from the income and consumption sample 1998. Cuvillier Verlag Göttingen (2005)
  10. Gedrich K: reevaluation of the DGE nutrition report 2004. Personal communication, 02/01/2005
  11. MRI (Max Rubner Institute): National Consumption Study II. Results Report, Part 2. Karlsruhe, (2008a). www.was-esse-ich.de/uploads/media/NVSII_Abschlussbericht_Teil_2.pdf
  12. MRI (Max Rubner Institute): National Consumption Study II. Results report, part 1. Karlsruhe (2008b). www.was-esse-ich.de/uploads/media/NVS_II_Abschlussbericht_Teil_1_mit_Ergaenzungsbericht.pdf
  13. MRI (Max Rubner Institute): Personal communication from August 13, 2010
  14. Mensink G, Thamm M, Haas K: Diet in Germany 1998. Health service 1999; 61: S200S206
  15. Mensink G, Burger M, Beitz R et al .: Contributions to federal health reporting: What do we eat today? Robert Koch Institute, Berlin (2002)
  16. Mensink G, Kleiser C, Richter A: Food consumption among children and adolescents in Germany. Results of the Child and Adolescent Health Survey (KiGGS). Bundesgesundheitsbl Gesundheitsforsch Gesundheitsschutz 50 (2007) 60923
  17. VdF (Association of the German Fruit Juice Industry): Development of the per capita consumption of fruit juices / fruit nectars in Germany. www.fruchtsaft.net/index.php?menu_sel=13&menu_sel2 = 3 & menu_sel3 = & menu_sel4 = & msg = 43; accessed on July 13, 2010

1Calculated with DGE-PC professional, version 3.0 (BLS II.3).

German Nutrition Society: Importance of fruit and vegetables in human nutrition. DGEinfo (08/2011) 114-118