You need 5-a-day fruit and veg? No you don’t! – Zoë Harcombe


5-A-DAY fruit and veg servings – it’s a mantra doctors and dietitians repeat to patients as if it’s written in stone somewhere. They even say you can drink most of those servings, and that fruit and veg juices are instant boosts for your health. Yet 5-a-day has no science behind it whatsoever, says British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe. It’s a number plucked out of thin air, a memorable number, she says, the same  as the digits on one hand. (Presumably, those who came up with it think that makes it easier for people to count servings?) The campaign is a different number-a-day across more than 25 countries, she says. Some say three, others four, five or more.  Harcombe’s not saying you shouldn’t eat fruit and veg. Just don’t believe the magical health benefits doctors and dietitians promise you because there isn’t any science to show there will be. During my last visit to London, the British government told its citizens that fruit juice should no longer be part of 5-a-day servings – because of the high sugar content. Harcombe says’s she’ll only drink a toast to that advice when …

5-a-day advice is ditched altogether. In an earlier post on she busts all the myths about diet and nutrition including 5-a-day. Watch this video of what Harcombe has to say about why 5-a-day is such an enduring myth and who is most like to benefit from it. Spoiler alert: it’s not you!  – Marika Sboros