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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.)
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.
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.
Forgoing fruit? 4 Answers