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I came across this article in the Daily Mail today on my lunch break.

I couldn't really believe what this woman was saying.


This Cynical Five-A-Day-Myth - Zoe Harcombe


Some of the highlights include "in terms of health and nutrition, fruit and veg have little to offer, and telling us to eat eight portions a day is compounding one of the worst health fallacies in recent history."


This is where she begins to lead on to the fact that animal products are better, finishing with her top 5 nutritious foodstuffs; "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)"


Slightly confusing when she suggested fruit and veg had little to offer, yet dark-green vegetables are in her top 5.


At one point in the article she says "What we should not do is to make the usual bad science leap from association to causation and say ‘eating more fruit and veg lowers the risk of dying from heart disease’."

I do not know if this is commonly published, but I've never been told fruit and veg lowers the risk of heart disease. There is no mention in this article about one of the bigger causes of heart disease - animal products. 


The woman seems intent on slandering the name of fruit and veg. She goes on with


  • Fruit is only good for Vitamin C
  • Vegetables offer some Vitamin C and A &K1 which are fat soluble so are only absorbed with butter or olive oil
  • A & K's useful forms are in animal products
  • Fruit is only good for potassium, which is in great supply in water anyway
  • Veg is only OK for iron and calcium
  • Animal products beat veg hands down as a source of vitamins and minerals
  • Fructose goes straight to the liver and is stored as fat

She mentions she was a vegetarian for 20 years but changed her views after doing research for her PhD in nutrition. 


It even seems she goes to suggest that there is no need to bother eating fruits and veg as a source of antioxidants but rather focus on not putting oxidants in our skin. What's wrong with doing both? Surely it's not one or the other.


"According to a recent survey, the British people are deficient in ­vitamins A, D, E — all of which are fat-soluble. If we added a dollop of butter to our portion of vegetables, they would be better for us — not worse."

I think that is looking at it in a fairly isolated way. There's no mention of the British peoples eating habits anyway, or the health risks of butter.

&the only natural fats she mentions are those in eggs, meat and fish with no mention of the fats from nuts and seeds.


I am not to worried about this article, I think it got published because it's controversial and eye catching. There aren't any downsides to eating 5 a day I'm aware of, and this woman seems to suggest we'd be better off without them and focus on eating liver and eggs in butter with a glass of milk and a few spinach leaves with sunflower seeds on the side.

I thought I'd share it because it shocked me quite a bit that it seemed like she was trying to rob fruit aswell as veg of it's good name whilst ignoring the defects in animal products.


Please share your thoughts and I'd especially like to hear comments on her claims which I bullet pointed. I'm no nutritionist (and I don't think she's much of one either) but if plants are so low in vitamins and minerals, where do the animals get them from? To me it doesn't make much sense.


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Comment by Lisa V on January 28, 2011 at 3:29



Sam, you might also find this article interesting ... It kind of puts things in perspective.

Comment by Lisa V on January 25, 2011 at 23:50



This is mostly an opinion piece intended to sell books. The writer very briefly refers to a study, before going off on what is entirely her own opinion and is not backed by any research (except maybe the Weston Price Foundation). The study she was talking about is the EPIC study ...

If you look at the key findings of the EPIC study, you can see that much of it is left to do, but the preliminary findings are that, yes, eating more fruits and vegetables doesn't decrease disease risk all that much.


But what isn't reported is what the EPIC study has said so far, at least in part, is that eating fruits and vegetables can't overcome the bad effects of eating meat. The connection between meat eating and disease is an ongoing part of the study, so you may want to keep an eye on it if it's a concern or interest.


"... it seemed like she was trying to rob fruit as well as veg of it's good name whilst ignoring the defects in animal products." 




If you're at all worried about the nutritional aspects of veganism, I highly recommend this site ... Ginny is a registered dietitian (which requires a master's degree here in the US) and a vegan ... and she really knows her stuff.



Comment by blackpanther on January 25, 2011 at 20:05
and of course, I forgot that I always put olive oil or sesame oil on my veges, so that's what she says should be done!
Comment by blackpanther on January 25, 2011 at 20:02

In my opinion, she's very good at "communication" and just wants to "sell" her future all she says is false about vegetables.

So many studies show the advantage of eating veg and fruit, but also grains, almonds, nuts....and beans, lentils...... =varied food........I think she' just trying to make money out of that!....or even maybe she's paid by the british meat lobby.......


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