How many fruit and nut chocolate bars for my five a day?

By Natasha Mendes

Mmm chocolate! Fruit and nut chocolate bars, a hot drink enjoyed by the fire… There is something about these cold, dark winter months that encourage me to overindulge. It can’t be all bad for me, right?

One of your daily portion of fruit and vegetables

In the UK it is advised that everyone should have 5 portions of fruit and veg a day as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. One portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g unless it is dried fruit in which case one portion of dried fruit is only 30g. This roughly equates to…

 1 medium sized fruit, e.g. Apple or Orange 3 heaped tablespoons of Peas Slice of Watermelon
 Half a grapefruit  Dessert bowl of salad  2 small sized fruit, e.g. plums, satsumas


The big question: how many fruit and nut chocolate bars would I need to consume to get one of my five a day?

Fruit and Nut bar, yummy! CC-BY-science made simple

Fruit and Nut bar, yummy! CC-BY science made simple

A standard 49g bar of a well known and loved British milk chocolate fruit and nut variety typically contains around 13% dried raisins. Guidelines say 30g of dried raisins (about one heaped tablespoons worth) would contribute to one of your five a day. This means, after a quick bit of number crunching, 4 and 2/3rds of 49g bars would need to be consumed in order to have had the equivalent of 30g of raisins to contribute to one of your five a day.


So that means I could eat 23 ½ fruit and nut chocolate bars to consume the full recommended 5 portions of fruit (or veg) a day?

23.5 chocolate bars, could you get through these in a day? CC-BY science made simple

23.5 chocolate bars, or, my 5 a day?! CC-BY science made simple

Unfortunately for the chocoholics among us, no. The key part of the recommended guideline is to encourage variety as well as quantity of fruit and vegetables to form a healthy balanced diet. That is, each portion needs to be a different fruit or vegetable to count as an other portion of your five a day, ensuring you are consuming a variety of nutrients your body needs.

It is also worth remembering that eating nearly 5 chocolate bars isn’t just going to contain a portion of dried fruit, but also a large quantity of fat and sugar which you really ought not to have a lot of in your diet. Consuming this many fruit and nut chocolate bars would equate to having nearly half your recommended daily calorie intake, a day’s recommended maximum amount of fat, and four times the daily recommended amount of sugar. After consuming my 5 bars of fruit and nut chocolate just for one of my five a day, I would then need to run for two hours to stand a chance of burning all the calories they contained. A big price to pay when you could have had a handful of grapes instead!

It can’t all be bad news?!

As greedy and ambitious as I can be with food, especially at Christmas, I must confess that it would be unlikely that I would consume nearly 5 chocolate bars in one day let alone 23 and half bars as I suggested above. Although, I am now left to wonder how hard is it to consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, am I doing this instinctively? It seems to me that we can consume a portion of fruit and veg from confectionery and snacks without realising it, yet getting your five a day does not necessarily mean you are having a healthy balanced diet. I am going to contemplate this and in the meantime read Zoë‘s blog on the science behind a balanced diet.

About the Blogger – Natasha Mendes

Natasha is our space made simple Business Administrator and Science Communicator in training. Natasha is passionate about all STEM subjects with a keen interest in physics and technology.

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Posted in Biology, Exploring Science