Five a day fruit and vegetables. A optimism

A well-honed adage in nutrition is the recommendation to eat five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day. Which is a worthy and reasonable suggestion.


Where is the evidence based on epidemiology that this is based on facts.

More importantly where will these five fruit and vegetables come from. In the UK there are say 50 million people of an age to eat fruit and vegetables, a low estimate. If a piece of fruit and vegetables is 100g, five will be 500g. Which is 25,000 million g. or 2,500 metric tonnes a day. Or just short of a million tonnes a year. Winter and summer.

And that is UK, not Europe.

David Goulson in the Financial  Times  November 9/10 2013 page 9 adds to the problems associated with this recommendation. The world bee and other insect populations are dwindling with consequences for fruit growth. Three quarters of all crops require insect pollination, eg most fruit and vegetables , especially strawberries, coffee, blueberries, tomatoes, chillies and cocoa. The almond crop in California is affected and the yields are falling. 1.5m honey bees are required to pollinate the almond crop. Apple and pear farmers in Szechuan have to use paint brushes to pollinate their plants by hand as the insect population is falling.

This is said to be a result of heavy pesticide usage. A curious cycle.

Insects damage crops

So insecticides are effectively used

The insects no longer pollinate crops

Crop yield fall


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