One of the most commonly-held beliefs regarding health and nutrition in the UK has been found to be untrue, according to a new scientific study.
For many years British people have been recommended to eat at least 'five-a-day' – that is five items of fruit or vegetables every day in order to improve their health and reduce the likelihood of illness, in particular cancer.
The recommendation was first put forward in 1990 by the World Health Organization which said that the 'five-a-day' diet could prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.
Since then the advice has been a mainstay of public health policies in many developed countries, such as the UK, where the population eat a high proportion of junk food.
Many health campaigns have promoted the advice, and indeed much food packaging in Britain states how the contents will constitute part of your five-a-day.
However, a study of 500,000 Europeans from 10 different countries refutes the commonly-believed suggestion that up to 50% of cancers could be prevented by increasing the public's consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Instead the study, which is led by researchers from a well-respected New York medical school, estimates that only 2.5% of cancers could be averted by eating more fruit and veg.
It seems that the key to avoiding cancers is to have an overall healthy lifestyle which includes not smoking or drinking a lot of alcohol, taking exercise and avoiding obesity.
But medical charities have spoken out to remind people that diet is an important factor in staying healthy, and that even a 2.5% reduction in cancers is still a positive step.
Cancer Research UK said: "It's still a good idea to eat your five-a-day but remember that fruits and vegetables are pieces in a much larger lifestyle jigsaw."
1. mainstay 主要支持者 支柱 骨干
例句：Agriculture is still the mainstay of the country's economy.
2. avert 防止 避免
例句：He managed to avert suspicion.
3. chronic 慢性的 长期的
例句：There is a chronic unemployment problem in America.
4. jigsaw 拼图游戏
例句：Both her children did jigsaw puzzles easily.