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Study finds 3-a-day fruit and veg is ‘good enough’

Eatwell Guide fruit vegetables 5-a-day
Public Health England's Eatwell Guide
30 Aug 2017
A large study of food eaten by adults has found that the optimum health benefits of fruit and vegetables are achieved with just three to four servings a day.

Researchers, who announced their findings at a European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona and have published them in The Lancet, say: “Higher fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption is associated with a lower risk of non-cardiovascular, and total mortality.

“But the benefits appear to be maximum at three to four servings per day – the equivalent of 375g–500g.”

The study, called PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology), recorded food intake using questionnaires involving more than 135,000 people in 18 countries, a mix of high, medium and low-income nations. Participants were enrolled from 2003 to 2013, and typically stayed involved for just over seven years.

The presentation of the research by Andrew Mente, of McMaster University in Canada, challenges current UK Government dietary advice, which recommends 5-a-day in its Eatwell Guide, which was updated and published by Public Health England in March this year.

The study did confirm that fruits and vegetables (including legumes) in moderation are good for you, but it did not show that the benefits keep growing with increased consumption.

Instead, the PURE researchers found that the maximum benefit was achieved with three to four serving per day.

"Optimal health benefits can be achieved with a more modest level of consumption, an approach that is likely to be much more affordable," says Mente.