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Food not as nutritious as it used to be


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Fruits, Veggies Not as Vitamin-Rich as in Past, Says New Data

Larger Fruits and Vegetables Mean More Plentiful but Less Potent Bounty


March 1, 2006 — - Fruits and veggies aren't what they used to be, new data suggests.

Of the 13 major nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, six have declined substantially, according to a study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Davis concludes that recently grown crops have shown decreases of up to 38 percent in protein, calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron and riboflavin when compared with produce from past decades.

What accounts for this negative trend? Like any other competitive industry, farmers' attempts to drive up profits have led them to use new techniques to increase production, Davis said. The faster-grown fruits don't have as much time to develop the nutrients.

"Farmers get paid by the weight of a crop, not by amount of nutrients," Davis said. He called this the "dilution effect": As fruits and vegetables grown in the United States become larger and more plentiful, they provide fewer vitamins and minerals.

"It's a simple inverse relationship: The higher the yield, the lower the nutrients," he said.

Davis said this happens because slower-growing crops have more time to absorb nutrients from both the sun and the soil.

"Lots of agricultural scientists don't know about this, and the public doesn't know about this," he said.

Wheat Also Being Examined

Jeff Cronin, at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said scientists and the USDA often overlook farming practices.

"Breeding plants to improve crop yield at the expense of all other things seems to be the problem, as well as depleting soil and not rotating crops properly," he said.

While Davis is not pleased about the decreasing levels of nutrients in produce, he still encourages people to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

"Even though amounts of nutrients have declined, fruits and vegetables are still the richest source of protective nutrients, much better than eating highly refined foods such as white flour, sugars and fatty foods," he said.

Davis is currently researching the dilution effect in 14 varieties of wheat. His findings already suggest that, once again, the larger the yield of wheat, the lower the nutrients.

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

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I started doubting the nutritional value of veggies and fruit from the super markets a long time ago-they are so tasteless as well :)

I still buy a lot of veggies and fruit but I also use a full vitamin range for my kids from the protein/nutrishake to the fish oil. My kids are so used to the taste of fish oil that they take it in liquid form. I have absolutely no faith in todays vegetables and fruit being nutritional enough to cater for my kids 'growing' needs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've recently started growing some of my own veggies and fruit and once we move into our house I'll be setting up my own herb and veggie patch and I'll put in some fruit trees too. It's not a very big garden, but I've learnt that you don't need lots of space to grow your own produce and even if I still have to buy some of the fruit & veg we use, the addition of nutrient-rich organically homegrown produce in season will be invaluable to our diet. Naturally I don't live near a big road or factories or my soil would be useless for this. :hug: I've recently joined the seed-savers and will be growing non-genetically-modified cultivars to help preserve self-sowing seed varieties for future generations. There are many "native" or wild crops that can be grown in a small veggie patch and which yield not only highly nutritional food, but also seed that will actually produce future crops. These veggies & fruits are the real deal and don't always look perfect, but they taste fabulous and leave you feeling good about yourself too inside & out :hug:

Most genetically-modified veggies(the ones you buy seed for from Bunnings & such) produce sterile seed that will not grow another crop the next year. This is big business' way of protecting their bottom line and I resent it that they think they can "patent" food. :hug:

The wild crops not only grow well in normal soil without needing the addition of tons of fertilizer, but they are very disease resitant and don't need chemicals either. I am especially looking forward to putting in my first strawberries as the ones I'll be growing will be the wild strawberries I remember from my childhood; smallish, irregularly shaped, dark red strawberries with a fabulous flavour that no child raised on giant-no-taste strawberries will ever forget once experienced. I'll also be using ugly, empty wall space around the property to grow espaliered fruit trees which will use the heat stored in those ugly bricks to evenly ripen fruit in season despite Melbourne's fickle weather. That way you can also fit more fruit trees on a smallish property (and hide ugly fences and brickwork).

If there are other nutty people out there who want to grow something in their gardens which will improve their family's health and wellbeing whilst helping to protect wild crops from commercial exploitation, try these guys for the real thing - http://www.seedsavers.net/

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Good for you Van! Oh we miss being able to have our own veggie patch! We try, we try really hard, but you have to start in late spring (when the ground is still frozen outside!) with seedlings in the garage, and then transplant them once the "last" snow dump is past, and then hope for the best!

Count your blessings! :hug:

:hug: Hendie

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I agree, good on You, Van. Nice posting.

I can't boast that I have green fingers but this season I tried my hand some veggie growing myself and we were quite succesful in harvesting huge amounts of carrots and tomatoes. We also had cucumbers, beet, zuchini, beans, strawberries and the ever (un)popular radish. All of this was grown in a relatively small patch.

We are also fortunate to have a peach (geel perske), plum, lemon and manderin/ tangerine trees in our garden. And to top it off we also had grenadelas and ..... now I forgot what it was. Cape something, some bushy berry type thingy. As I said, I'm no real gardener. :(

I'll have a look at the seedsavers site, thanks.

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NZHigh was that a Cape Gooseberry? Yummy! There are seedsavers in NZ too so all the best to you, it certainly sounds like you've got a good thing g®owing there :ilikeit:

Hendie it certainly sounds like you've got a few gardening challenges up North. Do you think hydroponics could work for you?

Edited by Van
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