We have started to watch what we eat trying to follow a healthy balanced diet I enjoy tomatoes and have heard many times that they are classified as a fruit, but also a vegetable. Considering the recommended balance is 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit, where does the tomato fit in that?

EDIT: Note, this question is specific about what category a tomato sits in from a dietary perspective. The answer given in What foods count towards 5 a day? is a very general of a link that does not even contain the word tomato.

  • @JonMarkPerry OP specifically excluded that question and I have to agree it's not a dupe. But I'm also not convinced this question is on topic here. Dietary questions generally aren't.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 4:12
  • @CareyGregory what stack exchange would be the right place? I'm keen to get a medical professional's response, not just a person.
    – Trevor
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 5:29
  • @Trevor; I was going to suggest cooking.stackexchange.com, but looking at cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, I'm not sure questions about 'fruitables' are on-topic there either.
    – JMP
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 5:33
  • FYI, when as the OP you get the message a question is flaged as possible duplicate, you are presented with two options, agree it's a duplicate and delete or edit the question. The exclusion was the edit to make it clear it's not. Just an FYI.
    – Trevor
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 5:33
  • 1
    @Trevor; When I wrote my question, I was asking why the potato (as in chips) wasn't considered one of my 5 a day. Your question looks very similar to mine to me! But I've retracted my close vote as you edited your question.
    – JMP
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


The recommended balance between 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit is only one of different recommendations, for example, Dietary Guidelines for Americans by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend 2.5 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of fruits per day in a 2,000 Calorie diet. On that same page, you can see they've put tomatoes into a vegetable group.

From the nutrition viewpoint, the main difference between vegetables and fruits is in their sugar content. A 100 g tomato contains only ~2.6 g of sugars, while an apple contains ~10 g. There seems to be no exact sugar amount determined that would put a certain plant into a fruit category, though.

There is no essential nutrient that vegetables, as a group, would have and fruits wouldn't. A certain vegetable and a certain fruit can contain more similar amounts of a certain nutrient, for example, potassium than 2 fruits or 2 vegetables (PubMed, Table 3).

All this suggests that one doesn't need to be too worried about what counts as a vegetable or a fruit and how many servings of each to eat but think which foods to eat to get all the essential nutrients.

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