4

votes

Is 5 a day really a myth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 25, 2011 at 2:14 AM

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-1349960/5-day-fruit-vegetables-myth-claims-nutrition-expert.html.

The contention is that fruits and veggies nearly entirely unnecessary. It doesn't square with experience. Does anyone know the book of the author? Is there sense to be made of her claims?

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 28, 2011
at 12:40 AM

just fyi: "Vegetables Are Nutritionally Useless? Try Again Zoe." http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/01/vegetables-are-nutritionally-useless.html

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Wow, Cambridge must not be as impressive a school as we are led to believe.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Just for the record, in case it isn't clear, my personal reason for eating only meat and not vegetables, is that it makes me less sick, which, come to think of it, does increase my coolness over when I am sicker.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on January 26, 2011
at 12:02 AM

In Australia, it's 2&5 ie 2 serves of fruit and 5 of vegetables http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/. Enlightened enough to make the distinction, but still way off the mark.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 25, 2011
at 11:47 PM

Good distinction - whenever I see someone trying to improve their health by glugging bottles of fruit smoothie and snacking on those little packets of sweetened, dried fruit, I mentally roll my eyes so much it's a wonder that I don't have a phantom repetitive strain injury yet! ;)

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 06:16 PM

If you were to eat the same amount of calories in a 100g ribeye as asparagus, you'd have to eat 12 times as much - 2.6lbs of asparagus.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 06:15 PM

To drive this point home, I just did some math. If you want to get the same amount of calories from asparagus as you do ribeye, you'd have to eat 12 TIMES as much. So if you want to get the same amount of calories as a 100g ribeye steak (1/4 pound, about) you'd have to eat 2.6 POUNDS of asparagus.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 05:00 PM

"By calorie" is a pretty misleading comparison. You don't eat calories, you eat whole foods, so if you want to eat the same amount of asparagus by calorie as meat, you have to eat a whole helluva lot more asparagus by weight, something your stomach and intestines might not enjoy.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:54 PM

How's your fat intake?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Stephen - Good example of why you shouldn't waste your time reading Barry Groves website.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 25, 2011
at 02:17 PM

what is a 418-kJ sample anyway? i bet that's a pretty heavy box of veggies. vitamins and minerals are much more bioavailable in meat with fat than in veggies even- if they have higher levels they dont get absorbed. and you cant compare calorie to calorie because six hundred calories of broccoli is like 3 bunches and a weeks worth of fiber, no one is going to eat that. so by weight can be a useful comparison.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 25, 2011
at 01:25 PM

why not compare this way qualia? am i going to eat 50 apples to get the same amount of vitamins as a steak? no. and the reason is because of weight because food isnt as effecient per bite. also isnt robb wolf's chart sorta weird because its averages of foods. and it only takes into account lean meat.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 25, 2011
at 10:50 AM

that's a rather unfortunate comparison. you can't compare foods BY WEIGHT (you're basically comparing the water content, lol). see here for a proper comparison (first table): http://robbwolf.com/book-resources/ veggies win hands down.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on January 25, 2011
at 09:04 AM

I completely agree! Surely my OH needs more water than I do if he needs more nutrients etc. At 3 stone heavier & a whole foot taller (5' 10"), his overall needs are more than mine. However, I am a lactating mother, so that makes a difference!

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:43 AM

...it is my multivitamin.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Meat is the original super food.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 03:28 AM

As far back as I can remember, salads always had more appeal to me in the summer than anything else or at any other time. Same with my mom. Sure, salads are cool vs. warm and cozy, but I think there is something more to it than that. Maybe it should be no surprise that dietary sources of vitamin D are from fish and liver? Fish are more sluggish in the winter, so easier to catch. I eat salads almost daily, but it's effortless in the summer.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 25, 2011
at 02:20 AM

http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/why-eat-5-portions-1.html

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15 Answers

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9
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:25 AM

I've never seen any scientific evidence that eating 5 fruits a day showed benefits over other diets. Surprising really. A few studies have looked at it but found no statistically significant benefit. Also, it's a bit tricky to properly study it. I would not be surprised that, if people replaced the consumption of donuts and burger buns with more veggies and fruit, they would get some benefit. But what if they were replacing grass fed beef consumption with apples and oranges? One of the problem with diet studies is that the addition of more consumption of any one food typically means eating less of another food. It's hard to keep the variables separate because two things are always changing at the same time. Plus IMO, fruits should not be put in the same category as vegetables as they are metabolically quite different on average. Then you are left guessing which one of the two changes (more of one food or less of another) and which of the two 'more' items (was it fruits or was it veggies and are you even tracking which ones they ate?) yielded which benefits or problems, or maybe it was both or all four interacting with eachother. Anyway, suffice to say that there is no current evidence that you need 5 servings or that 5 servings of more yield benefits. Really, seems to me just one or two servings is plenty to meet most nutrient RDAs and some fruits and veggies are much more nutritious than others. Personally, I think what they really need to be saying is to eat less crap and eat more real food. But at least fruits and vegetables would be an improvement over the typical SAD diet, as long as they were replacing less healthful foods like your typical chemical laden power bars or breakfast cereals.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:43 AM

...it is my multivitamin.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Meat is the original super food.

5
Medium avatar

on January 25, 2011
at 05:23 AM

5 of vegetables is good, 5 of fruits is much less good.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 25, 2011
at 11:47 PM

Good distinction - whenever I see someone trying to improve their health by glugging bottles of fruit smoothie and snacking on those little packets of sweetened, dried fruit, I mentally roll my eyes so much it's a wonder that I don't have a phantom repetitive strain injury yet! ;)

4
Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on January 25, 2011
at 05:32 AM

Does it make sense that I,at 5'0"/110lbs, need the same 5 servings of fruits and vegies (or anything else for that matter) as a 6'0" 220lb person? Do I also need the same 8 glasses of water/day? They're all averages.

Meh, not much of what the government says makes sense

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on January 25, 2011
at 09:04 AM

I completely agree! Surely my OH needs more water than I do if he needs more nutrients etc. At 3 stone heavier & a whole foot taller (5' 10"), his overall needs are more than mine. However, I am a lactating mother, so that makes a difference!

3
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I eat a lot of vegetables (limited fruit) because I wouldn't be "regular" (in the bathroom sense) without them. I'm also 40 and people often mistake me for someone under 30, and I can't help but think that all of those antioxidants have been doing their job for me. I'm also of the belief that there is no single diet that is right for everyone, either, and that our ancestors would have had a diet that varied seasonally. I think everyone needs to figure out which foods give them optimal feelings of health by paying attention to their body's signals and tweak accordingly.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:54 PM

How's your fat intake?

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 25, 2011
at 04:06 PM

One of my favourite studies is Green tea extract only affects markers of oxidative status postprandially: lasting antioxidant effect of flavonoid-free diet. Never mind the title. Here is the abstract, emphasis mine:


Epidemiological studies suggest that foods rich in flavonoids might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of green tea extract (GTE) used as a food antioxidant on markers of oxidative status after dietary depletion of flavonoids and catechins. The study was designed as a 2 x 3 weeks blinded human cross-over intervention study (eight smokers, eight non-smokers) with GTE corresponding to a daily intake of 18.6 mg catechins/d. The GTE was incorporated into meat patties and consumed with a strictly controlled diet otherwise low in flavonoids. GTE intervention increased plasma antioxidant capacity from 1.35 to 1.56 (P<0.02) in postprandially collected plasma, most prominently in smokers. The intervention did not significantly affect markers in fasting blood samples, including plasma or haemoglobin protein oxidation, plasma oxidation lagtime, or activities of the erythrocyte superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and catalase. Neither were fasting plasma triacylglycerol, cholesterol, alpha-tocopherol, retinol, beta-carotene, or ascorbic acid affected by intervention. Urinary 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine excretion was also unaffected. Catechins from the extract were excreted into urine with a half-life of less than 2 h in accordance with the short-term effects on plasma antioxidant capacity. Since no long-term effects of GTE were observed, the study essentially served as a fruit and vegetables depletion study. The overall effect of the 10-week period without dietary fruits and vegetables was a decrease in oxidative damage to DNA, blood proteins, and plasma lipids, concomitantly with marked changes in antioxidative defence.


Hyperlipid has a lot to say on this issue, for example Fruit and vegetables re post .

2
Acfd35c9e350bb4c0c17810af4decd95

on January 25, 2011
at 04:43 AM

My general attitude is this: if the government, and "Conventional Wisdom," says it is so, then it ain't so. (If anyone actually believes a bureaucrat or a politician has the public's interests at heart, I have a bridge in southern Louisiana I will happily sell you.)

2
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I go days without eating vegetables and fruits. I still get to go to the bathroom and I don't appear to be malnourished. I am currently reading Why we get fat by Gary Taubes and I think by the end he is going to say they are unnecessary.

I thought it would interesting to compare an apple to a steak for nutrients:

is-5-a-day-really-a-myth?

is-5-a-day-really-a-myth?

If we are going for the most nutrient dense 200+ grams of food, I think the steak is what I would feed my tribe, wouldn't you?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 06:16 PM

If you were to eat the same amount of calories in a 100g ribeye as asparagus, you'd have to eat 12 times as much - 2.6lbs of asparagus.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 25, 2011
at 01:25 PM

why not compare this way qualia? am i going to eat 50 apples to get the same amount of vitamins as a steak? no. and the reason is because of weight because food isnt as effecient per bite. also isnt robb wolf's chart sorta weird because its averages of foods. and it only takes into account lean meat.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 25, 2011
at 02:17 PM

what is a 418-kJ sample anyway? i bet that's a pretty heavy box of veggies. vitamins and minerals are much more bioavailable in meat with fat than in veggies even- if they have higher levels they dont get absorbed. and you cant compare calorie to calorie because six hundred calories of broccoli is like 3 bunches and a weeks worth of fiber, no one is going to eat that. so by weight can be a useful comparison.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 25, 2011
at 10:50 AM

that's a rather unfortunate comparison. you can't compare foods BY WEIGHT (you're basically comparing the water content, lol). see here for a proper comparison (first table): http://robbwolf.com/book-resources/ veggies win hands down.

2
D0578c3826123f66a80b034cd3e78816

(565)

on January 25, 2011
at 03:33 AM

It seems like the answer would depend on whether you believe the fiber and antioxidants provided by fruits and vegetables are useful or not. The author of that article doesn't seem to think so hence their position is minimized in the diet as a whole though not eliminated. Personally, I believe the author is being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. Her view does not seem all that radical, she's pretty much just saying, not so much that fruits and veggies don't matter, so much as meat matters more than you (you being the average SAD-type individual) have been told. Don't demonize meat and don't sanctify produce.

2
Ce57a94251224f9696faf47f9ca630a0

(858)

on January 25, 2011
at 02:45 AM

The Inuit spent whole seasons living on almost exclusively on seal meat and blubber. They seemed to do just fine eating that way. I find that I am not as interested in fruit at all in the winter, and my veggie intake is definitely less during the colder months. The intake of each naturally go up for me in the warmer months. Is it because quality fruit and veg are more easily gotten in the summer? Possibly, but I have taken to listening to what my body wants, and that seems to be working best for me.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 03:28 AM

As far back as I can remember, salads always had more appeal to me in the summer than anything else or at any other time. Same with my mom. Sure, salads are cool vs. warm and cozy, but I think there is something more to it than that. Maybe it should be no surprise that dietary sources of vitamin D are from fish and liver? Fish are more sluggish in the winter, so easier to catch. I eat salads almost daily, but it's effortless in the summer.

1
C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on January 27, 2011
at 05:20 PM

Seems to me this article has some good points - that fruit and veg are not a panacea, that trans-fats are bad and that 'natural' fats are good. But it also misses the point that it is grains and sugar we should be worrying about. Also why does it recommend porridge oats and cocoa - what has that got to do with anything? What I have been noticing about the media in general lately is that they are starting to cotton on that government guidelines and conventional wisdom are wrong but they haven't quite got the hang of what might be right.

1
7fe08b47d7d073a906802a4170ae24bf

(350)

on January 26, 2011
at 01:12 AM

There are paleolithic cultures that thrived with ZERO fruit and veggies (the chipchee being a present day example.)

That being said you need to find what works best for your body.

1
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on January 25, 2011
at 05:38 AM

I definitely think that the "fruit and vegetable" thing is what really bugs me about this. I have no real problem with the amounts, depending on what that fruit and/or vegetable is. I can come up with 5 VERY healthy choice, and 5 equally horrible choices. Its just way too open ended to be taken with any amount of seriousness.

0
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Heheh. This is the same article as in the question itself. My bad.


I just noticed a relevant article from a couple of days ago:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-1349960/5-day-fruit-vegetables-myth-claims-nutrition-expert.html

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Wow, Cambridge must not be as impressive a school as we are led to believe.

0
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 25, 2011
at 10:51 PM

Actually, "five a day" seems to be something arbitrarily selected by government health campaigns in order to give an authoritative ring to their pronouncements, to give a metric for success in public health studies, and to give citizens a specific goal to aim for. For example, the Danish are told by their government to eat 6 servings, the French 10, and Canadians between 5 and 10. Meanwhile the Japanese government recommends that its citizens consume 13 portions of vegetables in addition to 4 servings of fruit.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on January 26, 2011
at 12:02 AM

In Australia, it's 2&5 ie 2 serves of fruit and 5 of vegetables http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/. Enlightened enough to make the distinction, but still way off the mark.

0
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 25, 2011
at 11:00 AM

vegetables rock - they have the highest nutrient density per calorie. see: http://robbwolf.com/book-resources/ (first table). fruits not so much, but mainly because of high sugar content (except berries). -> (colored) vegetables and berries are a very valuable part of nutrition. everyone who leaf them out (p.i.) just because they're too cool to eat anything else but meat is simply fooling him/herself.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 06:15 PM

To drive this point home, I just did some math. If you want to get the same amount of calories from asparagus as you do ribeye, you'd have to eat 12 TIMES as much. So if you want to get the same amount of calories as a 100g ribeye steak (1/4 pound, about) you'd have to eat 2.6 POUNDS of asparagus.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Just for the record, in case it isn't clear, my personal reason for eating only meat and not vegetables, is that it makes me less sick, which, come to think of it, does increase my coolness over when I am sicker.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 25, 2011
at 05:00 PM

"By calorie" is a pretty misleading comparison. You don't eat calories, you eat whole foods, so if you want to eat the same amount of asparagus by calorie as meat, you have to eat a whole helluva lot more asparagus by weight, something your stomach and intestines might not enjoy.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 28, 2011
at 12:40 AM

just fyi: "Vegetables Are Nutritionally Useless? Try Again Zoe." http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/01/vegetables-are-nutritionally-useless.html

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