01.Health benefits don't increase by exceeding recommended daily intake
New research suggests that five-a-day is the appropriate target for the number of fruit and veg serves we eat, echoing the World Health Organization recommendation that dates back to 2003.
A review published in the British Medical Journal found higher consumption of fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower risk of dying from any cause, but eating more than five serves a day had no further impact.
Researchers based in China and the US examined the association between fruit and veg intake and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer deaths. They analysed the results of 16 studies involving a total of 833,234 people. Over the period of the studies, 56,423 participants died.
More servings leads to better health, but only to a point
They found that each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables reduced the average risk of premature death from all causes by five per cent. In the case of death from cardiovascular disease, each additional serving curbed risk by four per cent. There was no appreciable association between a high consumption of fruit and veg and risk of death from cancer.
But the review reported a threshold of around five servings of fruit and veg a day, after which the risk of dying from any cause didn’t reduce further.
Fruit and veg intake still falls short
The most recent Australian Health Survey found that 54% of the population met the recommended daily intake of fruit, which for adults is two serves according to Australian Dietary Guidelines. Just 6.8% of the population met the recommended usual intake of vegetables, which for adults is five to six serves of vegetables daily.
So while the daily target could be debated, the message for the public is still that we should be eating more fruit and particularly veg.