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Offringa, Lisa [1], Stanton , Michael [2], Hauser, Michelle [2], Gardner, Christopher [2].

Fruits & Vegetables vs. Vegetables & Fruits: A narrative review of rhyme and reason for word order in health messages.

Both vegetable and fruit consumption contribute to wellness and disease prevention. Most dietary health messages promote both together and position the word ‘fruits’ before ‘vegetables.’ We have observed many recent examples of word reversals to ‘vegetables and fruits’ and were curious if a rationale could be identified. We examine word order through the lenses of linguistics, botany, nutrition, health outcomes and current US intake relative to recommendations. Comparing the most commonly consumed ten vegetables versus ten fruits, using 100-gram portions, we observed vegetables contain fewer Kcals and sugars, and scored higher on the NuVal nutrient metric. Vegetables contributed more than fruits to the ‘nutrients of public concern’ listed by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fruits scored higher in overall antioxidant content. In observational cohort studies, vegetable consumption was found slightly more often than fruits to be associated with decreased mortality. Finally, daily intake of both vegetables and fruits is substantially lower than recommended, but the discrepancy is larger for vegetables—especially among children. Although linguistically ‘fruits and vegetables’ more easily rolls off the tongue, and botanically some vegetables are actually fruits, we conclude that future health messages promoting both together should intentionally put “vegetables” first to emphasize their slight edge in importance regarding contribution to health and urgency to promote increased intake.


1 - Stanford University, Stanford Prevention Research Center, School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero Road, Suite 100, Palo Alto, CA, 94304, United States
2 - Stanford University, Stanford Prevention Research Center, School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero Road, Suite 100, Palo Alto, California, 94304

Keywords:
vegetables
fruits
Public Health.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Number:
Abstract ID:92
Candidate for Awards:None