Eating more fruit and vegetables after your five a day is useless, study finds

Guy Bentley
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Eating more than five portions of fruit and veg a day has no significant health benefits, according to research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The researchers, who came from both Chinese and American universities including the Harvard School of Public Health, examined 16 studies across the US, Asia and Europe involving over 833,000 people, which concluded that for every portion of fruit and veg eaten there was a lower risk of premature death.

However, once consumers had reached five portions, there was no further discernible impact on health.

For every extra serving up to five, the average death risk fell by five per cent. In the US and China, the research showed there was a lower risk of dying from any cause, however, risk of cardiovascular enjoyed a steeper decline, according to professor Frank Hu, who led the team.

"There was a threshold around five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, after which the risk of all-cause mortality did not reduce further," said Hu.

However, the study also found that higher consumption of fruit and veg did not especially lower peoples risk from cancer.

The new research clashes with a study conducted in England published earlier this year that recommended consumers hike their fruit and veg intake to seven a day.

The University College London study, conducted in April, examined 65,000 people who responded to the Health Survey for England over eight years. The researchers concluded that eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day cut the risk of cancer and heart disease by 25 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.

The five a day recommendation stems from advice given by the World Health Organisation, which says a minimum of 400g of fruit and veg a day will help combat serious health problems.

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