Chortling scientists today admitted that they originally made up the five-a-day rule to see how many sprouts they could get people to eat.
“A group of us were in the pub one night,” said unrepentant nutritionist Simon Williams, 43, with a snigger.
“Like most people, we scientists have a childish, lavatorial sense of humour, and after a few pints, we decided it would be really funny if we could get everyone in Britain to eat enormous quantities of fibrous vegetables and beans every day for ‘health reasons’.
“We called it the Five-a-Day rule to make it sound, you know, mathematical and scientific.
“And, well, people fell for it. Which was awesome.”
Williams said that the funniest thing had been “watching earnest people in Islington filling their hemp shopping bags with sheaves of Cavolo Nero, while at the same time looking really clenched and uncomfortable,” but added that he felt the gag still had some mileage.
“Did you know that Canadian scientists have managed to get their government to introduce a Ten a Day rule?” he asked us, eagerly.
“Basically, that works out at almost a kilo of sprouts, broccoli and kale, every day, 365 days a year, for the rest of your life!
“Good thing it’s a land of wide open spaces!” he added, before descending into giggles again.
Williams said he had high hopes of duplicating the Canadians’ success, but that in the meantime, he and his colleagues were “lobbying the government to reclassify pickled eggs as a vegetable.”