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Fruit and veg required intake less than thought

Eating just three or four servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes per day may benefit health and mortality as much as the five portions widely recommended in dietary guidelines, a study suggests.

Eating just three or four servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes per day may benefit health and mortality as much as the five portions widely recommended in dietary guidelines, a study suggests

fruit
Eating three or four, rather than five, portions of fruit and vegetables
per day does not affect mortality risk. Picture: iStock

Eating just three or four servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes per day may benefit health and mortality as much as the long recommended five portions, a study suggests.

International researchers including McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, analysed data on more than 135,000 people from 18 countries who enrolled between 2003 and 2013. Details from the study database were assessed up to March 2017.

At the beginning of the study participants provided information on their socioeconomic status, lifestyle behaviours, medical history, family history of cardiovascular disease, weight, height, waist and hip measurements, and blood pressure.

Hazard ratio

They also completed a questionnaire on the types and frequency of food and beverages they ate regularly, which the researchers used to calculate the number of servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes they had.

Participants attended follow-up visits with the research team at least every three years.

Global dietary guidelines recommend eating five servings of fruit, vegetables or legumes a day, but these targets are unaffordable for most people in low- and middle-income countries, according to the authors.

The study, published in The Lancet, suggests that the hazard ratio for total mortality was lowest for three to four servings per day, with no further apparent decrease in hazard ratio with higher consumption.


Miller V et al (2017) Fruit, vegetable, and legume intake, and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE): a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32253-5

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