News & Views

Is Three Portions of Fruit and Veg Enough?

Sep 15 2017 Read 880 Times

While five servings a day is the widely accepted fruit and veg intake target, new research reveals that the actual dose needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle is much lower. According to a team of Canadian researchers, just three portions a day could do the trick. This equates to around 375g of fruit, vegetables and beans, which is supposedly just as effective at reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease and premature death.

Drawing on data from more than 135,000 participants across the globe, the study suggests that eating as little as three 125g portions a day (as by measured by the US Department of Agriculture) is sufficient. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease and were aged between 35 and 70 years old, which played an important role in bolstering the study’s credibility.

A win for low income consumers?

From people with low incomes to those who simply don’t enjoy fresh fruit and veg, these relatively modest quantities could make it a whole lot easier to meet the recommended daily intake.

“That 25g [difference] is about 2% of total household income in low-income countries,” explains Victoria Miller, a McMaster University doctoral student and lead author of the paper.

That said, she stresses that it doesn’t mean humans should stop striving for a diet that’s high in fruit and veg.

“In western countries like North America and Europe we don’t want to suggest that [people] should start eating less fruit and vegetables – we think that it is part of an overall healthy diet and there is benefit from eating more.”

A decade of research sheds new light on “five a day” mantra

So how did Miller and her colleagues source the results? Once enrolled, participants were quizzed on how often they ate various foods, including region-specific dishes. This allowed the researchers to determine the quantity of fruits and vegetables, and corresponding nutrients that were consumed on a daily basis. Each participant was followed for between 5.5 and 9.3 years, with health checks conducted at least every three years. The results spoke for themselves, with those who ate just three servings a day appearing just as healthy as their “five a day” counterparts.

From Canada’s McMaster University to the UK’s University of Nottingham, education plays a pivotal role in modern medical research. For an exclusive look at the latest developments from the latter, ‘Wide Eyed with Wonder: University of Nottingham Open their Doors to the Community’ introduces the inaugural Wonder 2017 day, a free family day designed to “amaze and inspire curious minds.”

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