Another study on fruit and vegetable consumption, and, well, it would appear that we're back to square one. Eating just 5 A DAY may not be tantamount to suffering a nutritional shortfall after all, new research claims to show.
The large-scale study carried out by Chinese and American researchers did conclude that eating more fruit and vegetables than most of us currently do is a good thing, though, as it can lower the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer.
In April, scientists at University College London analysed the eating habits of 65,000 people over eight years, and found that the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the better, with the latter having a greater protective effect than fruit.
Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was associated with a 25 per cent lower risk of cancer, and a 31 per cent lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
In the latest Chinese-American study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers used the results of 16 studies comprising 833,234 participants, of whom 56,423 had died.
They found that the average risk of death from all causes was reduced by 5 per cent for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables, and the specific risk of cardiovascular death – from heart disease or stroke – was reduced by 4 per cent for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables.
But, the results showed that risks did not drop any further for those people who ate more than their 5 A DAY.
They also found that eating more fruit and vegetables did not particularly protect people from cancer, although it was noted that more studies are needed in this area.
Nevertheless, there are other risk factors which may be more important, the researchers suggest, such as obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and drinking. It is not clear whether eating more fruit and vegetables might lower the risk of some specific types of cancer, and more studies are needed, they say.