Monday, 24 January 2011

A fruitless task

Could it be possible that the five-a-day madness that has spawned an army of outreach workers is load of old codswallop? Do we really have to eat five pieces of fruit and vegetables every day? Well, no… some fibre zealots reckon we should now crank up our intake to eight a day. God knows what that’s going to do for methane emissions and global warming but no doubt the five-a-day coordinators will now be renamed eight-a-day and will have a corresponding increase in salary, bonus and gold-plated pension. Carrot juices all round.

However, according to a growing band of nutrition experts, the whole five-a-day fallacy may be a load of old rubbish. Apparently the original campaign was dreamed up in America (but you knew that) by a group of fruit and vegetable growers working with a cancer charity. Recent research points towards the advice being utter nonsense and that excessive consumptions of fresh fruit and vegetables doesn’t significantly reduce the chances of developing cancer and heart disease.

According to obesity expert, Zoe Harcombe, the health lobby would have been far better off urging us to eat foods that are more beneficial. She says: “I don’t agree with the ­prevailing view that we should all eat more fibre in order to help us feel full and keep our digestive systems moving.

“The fact is, we can’t digest fibre. How can something we can’t even digest be so important to us, nutritionally? We are told that we need to ‘flush out’ our digestive systems. But essential minerals are absorbed while food is in the intestines, so why do we want to flush everything out? It is far better to concentrate on not putting bad foods into your body.

“The biggest tragedy of all is the lost opportunity from this misguided five-a-day campaign. If only we had hand-picked the five foodstuffs that are actually most nutritious and spent what the Department of Health has spent on promoting fruit and vegetables over the past 20 years on recommending them, we could have made an ­enormous difference to the health and weight of our nation.

“If you ask me, these foodstuffs are liver (good for all vitamins and packed with minerals), sardines (for vitamin D and calcium), eggs (all-round super-food with vitamins A, B, D, E and K, iron, zinc, calcium and more), sunflower seeds (magnesium, vitamin E and zinc) and dark-green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach (for vitamins C, K and iron).

“Add milk (good for calcium, vitamins A and D), porridge oats (magnesium, zinc and B vitamins) and cocoa powder (magnesium and iron) and, hey presto, you’re provided with the full quota of every vitamin and mineral our bodies need.”

That sounds like sensible advice to me, and a hell of a lot easier than munching your way through a pile of tasteless vegetation that’s mostly water and fibre.

More liver, anyone?


  1. Liver I've never been able to eat it since I was a toddler - can't abide the taste or texture, ditto sardines, eggs and derivatives have occasionally gone down the wrong way then my airways react and I have blood poisoning, sunflower seeds cause weight gain with a vengeance, broccoli and spinach - taste makes me want to puke. Oats bloat me up like a barrage balloon. I'll continue being a carnivore the same as I have been for the last 63 years.


  2. Once we used to be preached at by priests... now it's health zealots.

  3. Interesting, Mark.

    Perhaps you should also look into the recommended daily allowance of alcohol, measured in units. It appears the research behind this is just as unsound, a generalised number based on outdated weekly limits. See

  4. [A.N.Other] It appears that the optimum, though arbitrary, RDA for alcohol is between 2 and 4 units. If your weekly consumption is 63 units, the incurred medical risks (life expectancy) match those of a teetotaller.

  5. All this 5 fruit and veg a day was fostered on to us by the dammned vegetarians.

    We don`t preach to you as carnivores so stop preaching to us , is my answer.

    As a sufferer of underactive hypothyroidism, my main thyroid gland is now dead and the size of a small pea, normal thyroid gland , situated near the the middle of the coller bone and the size of a small fist is the norm.

    Any one suffering thyroid problems should never eat too much veg such as " brassica". Cauliflower, broccolli, sprouts etc. The reason being is they counteract the thyroxin tablets functions, which are to compensate for the lack of iodine the main thyroid glad produces.

    The thyroid gland is the second most important part of the body to the heart. The thyroid gland makes sure it " oils the engine " sort of thing.

    These nutritional experts, diet guru`s and any other fame starved plebs should also warn of the effects of eating too much greens.

    They should also let people know that if they have cholestorol and high blood pressure problems, that eating grapefruit or lemons or any acidic fruit is bad for you if you are on tablets for Thyroid, high or low blood pressure and cholestorol tablets.

    But then .... they won`t do this ... Why you ask ?

    Imported and exported food companies would lose out, government gaining tax on imports and exports would lose out, bugger the thyroid sufferers, and the people with high blood pressure/low pressure and cholestorol.

    Six years ago everyone was told they had high/low blood pressure and high cholestorol, all these tests, pills and diets came out, it was decided we were all eating the wrong things, but the pharmacuticles got damn well rich on all of this .

    My God , we are like sheep and are slowly being led to the slaughter, remembering my youth, we didn`t have the luxury of freezers, fridges, large stores or the abundance of foods as we have today.

    I remember a marble slab, under the stairs in many homes accross the nation, which was called a " larder".If we were lucky to afford bacon , there it would be on the marble slab to keep cool, for weeks on end, used sparingly. What fat it produced in the frying pan was used to cover bread doorstep slices and fried.

    A common treat was condensed milk spread thickly on toasted bread, or an enamel mug filled with water and an OXO cube added to it and if we had bread then we would dip it in the OXo.

    Families then couldn`t afford the luxuries we have in abundance today, we all had to make do with what was available at the time , and what we could afford. The older generations today are enjoying a ripe old age .

    I for one blame processed goods, and Muck Donalds franchises, plus any convenience foods, they were not around years ago, no added this or that to preserve food.

    Ok the normal hard working family have no time to cook conventional good old fresh meals...... make time..!!

  6. Glad I found this blog! Inspired me to do my own and stop from going insane while under the care and attention of the NHS.

  7. do you know how much fruit or veg you would have to eat to even begin endangering your thyroid?

    come on we know fruit and veg is good for us end of 5-10 is good enough