By Catherine McDermot - 2nd August 2014 9:30am
We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is good for us, and a study in The British Medical Journal this week adds to the now substantial evidence showing that people who eat more fruit and vegetables are more healthy and less likely to die prematurely.
A systematic review and dose-response analysis from 16 different studies shows that higher consumption of fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower risk of all cause mortality. They interestingly also observed "a threshold around five servings of fruits and vegetables a day after which the risk of all cause mortality did not reduce further."
The question of the health benefits of eating five, or more than five, daily portions of fruit and vegetables seems to be a topic that will be debated for some time to come. For now the UK government's advice remains that we should be consuming "at least" five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which would seem to be in line with the most recent research.
Unfortunately, for a large part of the general public the benefits of healthy eating and lifestyle advice do not seem to be getting through. Authors of the latest clinical review report that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is now more common worldwide than alcoholic liver disease, because of the rapid rise in the prevalence of obesity: prevalence of NAFLD is now 20% in the general population (and up to 70% in patients with type 2 diabetes).
The authors recommend that "patients with suspected or confirmed NAFLD should be given lifestyle advice on sustainable weight reduction as well as advice about reduction of alcohol intake" because obesity and alcohol may act synergistically to promote liver disease. With this in mind, are doctors going far enough to help provide practical advice for their patients? Over and above endorsing public health advice about the benefits of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, perhaps doctors need a similar evidence based checklist of "five foods and drinks NOT to consume each day," which would include refined sugar and sugary drinks.
Deputy Editor, The BMJ
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Haddenham resident Dr Philippa Blowfield will be running the Official 40th London Marathon next Sunday, 4th October. Of course, due to Covid restrictions, the event cannot take place in London. So instead 45,000 runners across the world are running the distance in their local communities. You are likely to have spotted Philippa on her many training runs around Haddenham in the last few...
Dennis Vincent, the very longstanding fuel attendant at Ivor Miles garage in Churchway, has decided to retire after nearly 30 years' serving fuel to the motorists of Haddenham and the surrounding areas. Dennis has been an outstanding member of the Ivor Miles team and, in all weathers, been at the forefront of the business. Many local residents will recall that, despite his senior years...
The following letter is being distributed to parents and guardians from Public Health England:Dear parents and guardiansThis is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest way possible.One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and...