Study reveals why young men are not eating their 'five-a-day'

Refusing to cook to not being able to stomach vegetables are two main reasons why young men are so bad at getting their 'five-a-day', research suggests. 

Scientists from the University of East Anglia looked at the eating habits of more than 30 British males aged 19-to-24. 

'Low consumers', defined as eating less than three portions of fresh produce a day, described vegetables as 'disgusting' and 'bland'.

Others complained the ingredients are a hassle to prepare, with one saying he only eats vegetables if his 'mum were to cook them'.

While the men acknowledged fruit and veg are good for us, one said he 'never ever thinks about his diet' because he is too preoccupied 'thinking about girls'.

New research suggests why young men are so bad at getting their 'five-a-day' (stock)

New research suggests why young men are so bad at getting their 'five-a-day' (stock)

'We found the young men with the best diets really believed in their ability to afford, shop for, prepare, and cook fruit and vegetables,' lead author Dr Stephanie Howard Wilsher said. 

'These high consumers felt they had good control of their diet and health, and had positive attitudes towards healthy food.  

'They had a holistic view of health, liked the taste and variety of flavours in fruit and veg, and had learned to cook for themselves.

'Those who weren't eating enough either could or would not cook. 

'For this group, convenience foods were easier and fruit and vegetables were viewed as expensive, not readily available and their preparation time-consuming.' 

Getting your five-a-day has been linked to a lower risk of death from all causes, the researchers wrote in the journal Nutrients.

However, despite fruit and vegetables' benefits, most people across the world only manage three servings a day.   

Past studies that have looked at fruit and vegetable consumption among adults have not broken intake down into age groups or gender.

'In England about half of men eat less than three portions of fruit and veg a day, and young men aged 18-24 eat the least,' Dr Howard Wilsher said.

'This is really worrying because men are more likely than women to suffer health problems later in life such as coronary heart disease.

'We wanted to find out why many young men aren't eating their five-a-day, and also what motivates those who do.'

The researchers analysed the food diaries of 34 men who were otherwise healthy. 

Those who ate four or more portions of fruit or vegetables a day were considered 'high consumers'. Only four of the men ate at least five servings a day. 

Interviews with the men revealed those who ate lots of fresh produce had more control over their meals, whereas low consumers were often cooked for by their families. 

'I would only eat them [vegetables] if like mum were to cook them,' a low consumer said.

High consumers were also more likely to be taught to cook at a young age.

'I have got a few pointers off my mum and my nan, it's kind of make it up as you go along and try things,' one said. 

High consumers took the time to buy and prepare fruit and vegetables, and felt they had the cooking skills necessary to add these to a meal.

Whereas low

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