Fruit And Vegetables Should Be Capped At Five Portions A Day

We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for you, but how much is too much? According to the latest scientific research, improvements in health stop increasing once you reach five portions per day. While eating additional sticks can be healthy, it won't make you live longer.

Photo: Shutterstock

Researchers from the US and China analysed the results from sixteen separate studies relating to fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality involving more than 830,000 people. During follow-up periods ranging from 4.6 to 26 years, there were 56,423 deaths in total; 11,512 from cardiovascular disease and 16,817 from cancer.

While eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables was found to be markedly beneficial, additional daily portions had no further effect. This is in contrast to existing nutritional guidelines that recommend seven or more daily portions of fruits and vegetables.

Within the five portion threshold, higher consumption of fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower risk of death from all causes.

"[Our study] provides further evidence that a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases,” the report concludes.

"The results support current recommendations to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to promote health and longevity."

Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies [BMJ]


Comments

    with 7 portions, people think ill eat 5 thats plenty, but with 5 they will eat 3 and think the same thing

    So it isn't saying that greater than five portions is "too much": just that the health benefits taper off.

    When I read the headline and first paragraph, I thought it would be saying that more would be harmful, which doesn't seem to be the case.

      "While eating additional sticks can be healthy, it won’t make you live longer." The intro spelled it out pretty thoroughly, I thought.

        "provides further evidence that a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases"

        Your own article suggests that eating more than 5 portions is still beneficial.
        At no point does it even remotely suggest that you should cap your intake to five portions, rather that the benefit peaks at 5 portions.
        This suggests that you should consume no less than 5 portions, not stop at 5.

        In conclusion, 5+ a day still rings true and Gizmodo is as misleading as ever.

        Last edited 07/08/14 5:22 pm

          The report puts it plainly: "There was a dose-response relation between consumption of fruit and vegetables and decreasing risk of all cause mortality at consumption below five servings a day, but the risk did not decrease further with five or more servings a day. " So five daily portions seems to be the threshold as far as health benefits go.

            The study is saying eat 5 portions a day, eating more is of no harm.
            You are saying do not eat more than 5 portions a day.

            Two, very, very different statements.

            The study reaffirms you should eat at least five portions a day.

            Last edited 07/08/14 5:32 pm

            None the less, it doesn't suggest that you should eat no more than five, which the headline plainly states ("capped").

        Fair enough. The title still seems a bit misleading. If the fruit and vegetables you eat after five servings are merely neutral health wise, that's probably still a lot better than other things you might substitute in their place. So capping your intake might not actually be healthier.

          Its just click bait. A more appropriate title might be "Study confirms you should eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day" just as the study actually suggests.

            For me, the most interesting finding in the report was that health improvements stop increasing once you reach five portions a day. Your suggested headline is already common knowledge.

              Still, it is more factual unlike yours which is an outright lie.

              Last edited 07/08/14 9:35 pm

                It isn't a lie. The report states that eating more than five portions of veges/fruit a day does not improve your health or increase your lifespan. Therefore, five portions is enough and that's what people should eat. Stop trying to hog all the bananas. :-P

                  But it doesn't say you should eat more than 5, unlike your title.

                  Hands off my mangoes!

      Read the headline only and thought the same thing. Headline gives the impression that eating more than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day is actually unhealthy, while it's only the last line of the introductory paragraph that indicates there are no drawbacks, just no further substantial health benefits.

    It isn't that simple. For a start not all fruits and vegetables are equal in nutritional terms. Many are loaded with chemicals from pesticides and fertilisers. Many have very low quantities of nutrients. Many have been frozen and stored for long periods, losing even more of their precious nutrients. Some are much higher in sugar (fructose) than others. And so on.

    One size does not fit all in health and nutrition, and there are so many other variables as to make most of these generalisations in these reports meaningless. For example, if you eat your 5 servings a day, but also consume too much high sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, etc) in the form of various carbohydrates, or not enough healthy fats, then at best it will slow your health deterioration, and at worst not do you any good at all.

    The quality of the food matters. Really matters. As does what you mix with it.

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