Forget five a day: You need SEVEN portions of fresh fruit and veg per day to live longer, says new research

 

Senior Reporter

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day gives people a far greater chance of staving off an early death, according to a study published on Tuesday, which suggests that the Government’s official “five a day” recommendation should be doubled to 10.

Researchers found that eating seven fruit and vegetable helpings a day reduced a person’s risk of dying of cancer by 25 per cent and of heart disease by 31 per cent. But in a surprising finding, eating tinned and frozen fruit appeared to increase the risk.

Current NHS guidance, which is in turn based on advice from the UN’s World Health Organization, states that every person in Britain should try to have five different 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Examining the eating habits of 65,000 people in England between 2001 and 2013, the researchers from University College London (UCL) found that people who ate seven or more portions daily had a 42 per cent reduced risk of death overall compared to those who managed just one.

Fresh vegetables were found to have the strongest protective effect, followed by salad and then fruit. Overall, vegetables pack more of a protective punch than fruit, the authors said.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. In an accompanying editorial, public health doctors from the University of Liverpool said the findings prompted the question: “Is it perhaps now time for the UK to update the ‘five a day’ message to ‘ 10 a day’?”

The doctors added that as a maximum recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables “could not easily be defined”, the Government’s current five a day guide “might provide a false reassurance and risk complacency” among people who already ate that amount. “They need to aim higher,” they added.

“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” said the study’s lead author Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.”

The research suggested that vegetables are more effective at warding off an early death than fruit. Two to three daily portions of vegetables resulted in a 19 per cent lower risk of death among those studied, compared with 10 per cent for the equivalent amount of fruit.

In Australia, official health advice encourages people to eat two helpings of fruit and five portions of vegetables a day. The authors said their findings suggested that the “two plus five” diet was a sensible approach.

The most controversial finding was that tinned and frozen fruit increased a person’s risk of death by 17 per cent, which the authors suggested may be down to the high amounts of sugar contained in many brands, cancelling out the positive effect of the fruit itself.

“Most canned fruit contains high sugar levels and cheaper varieties are packed in syrup rather than fruit juice,” Dr Oyebode said. “The negative health impacts of the sugar may well outweigh any benefits.”

However, other scientists raised concerns about reading too much into the link because the researchers were not able to rule out other aggravating factors, such as poor access to fresh groceries or pre-existing health conditions.

Dr Gunter Kuhnle, a food scientist from the University of Reading, said: “It’s possible that eating tinned fruits are an indicator of high sugar intake, but it might also be a marker of poverty or lower socioeconomic class. As there is no data, it’s simply not possible to speculate.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solution Architect - Oil & Gas Industry

£95000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: One of Progressive's ...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

.Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - West London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

Electrical Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Wiltshire based client require an Ele...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz