New Study Shows 5 A Day Is Not Enough

Eating 5-a-day shown to be less effective than 7-a-day

A new study has been hitting the headlines this week with the announcement that the ‘Eat 5-a-day' message for fruit and vegetable intake has been shown to be considerably less effective at reducing premature deaths when compared to the benefits of consuming 7 servings per day.

The study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health looked at data from 65,000 people over a 7 year period and found those consuming 7 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit had a 42% cut in the risk of dying early in comparison to a 29% lower risk for those only eating between 3 and 5 servings.

The 5-a-day campaign was launched by the Government in 2003 in response to the World Health Organisation recommendations that adults should consume at least 400g of fruit and vegetables per day, the idea being that 1 portion weighs 80g. 

What the Government failed to do was prevent the food industry from claiming processed foods such as tinned fruit in syrup, processed fruit juices and baked beans with added sugar and salt can count towards the magic 5-a-day total.

Naturopathic nutritionists have long considered ‘5-a-day’ to be a conservative estimate of how much fruit and vegetables to eat because of the myriad benefits of eating more. 

A wide range of brightly coloured produce  provides a whole scope of crucial nutrients including vitamins, minerals and their naturally occurring co-factors such as bioflavanoids and polyphenols,  which have powerful antioxidant and protective effects of their own.

We are also facing the extra demands of our modern lifestyle, and depleted levels of nutrients in our soils, which means that produce grown today contains much lower levels of key vitamins and minerals.

 My comment: A breakfast smoothie can get you off to a good start towards those all important 7-a-day, but go easy on the fruit - choose lower GI varieties such as berries and kiwi fruit, and throw in a handful of green leafy veg such as mixed salad leaves or watercress for a boost of vitamins and minerals.

Posted: Apr 10, 2014