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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 11:09
doreen T's Avatar
doreen T doreen T is offline
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Default Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago

Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago

Wednesday, March 1, 2006


By LANCE GAY
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

In spite of what Mother taught you about the benefits of eating broccoli, data collected by the U.S. government show that the nutritional content of America's vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years -- in some cases dramatically.

Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines -- protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.

"It's an amazing thing," said Davis, adding that the decline in nutrient content has not been widely noticed.

He said an agriculture scientist appears to have been the first to pick up the disappearance of nutrients in 1981 in a paper comparing the data on nutrients on garden crops grown in the United States with those grown in England.

Davis, who discussed his findings at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in St. Louis, suspects the trend in agriculture toward encouraging crops that grow the fastest and biggest is a reason for the decline. The past five decades have been marked by the "Green Revolution," which has seen a marked increase in U.S. production and yields as farmers have turned to the fastest-growing and greatest-producing plants.

The tradeoff is that the faster-growing plants aren't able to acquire the nutrients that their slower-growing cousins can, either by synthesis or from the soil. He said there also are differences in the amounts of nutrients lost in differing varieties of wheat and broccoli.

Davis said he doesn't want his study to encourage people to stop eating vegetables on the grounds they lack nutrients.

"That's completely wrong," he said, contending his study shows that people need to eat more vegetables and fruits, not less. "Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals. They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these."

Al Bushway, a food-science professor at the University of Maine and an expert with the Institute of Food Technologists, said the decline of nutrients in vegetables and fruits could be made up through other foods Americans eat.

"For vegans only using plant sources for food, this could be an issue," he said. But he said most Americans would pick up adequate quantities of calcium they need by drinking milk.

Bushway said that fruits and vegetables are still crucial to providing nutrients people need. "They are an important part of the diet -- extremely important," he said.

The Agriculture Department data that Davis used doesn't include all of the nutrients scientists today can identify in fruits and vegetables.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/healt...3_veggie01.html


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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 15:07
bluesmoke bluesmoke is offline
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This is hardly a surprise. With the depletion of soils and the use of artificail fertilizers (which does not add micronutrients) added to the breeding of varieties of vegetables for volume production, what else would you expect? If you were to try fresh vegetables grown from older varieties of seed and grown in healthy soil, further research would not be needed, tour body would tell you. Nyah Levi
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 15:48
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Dodger Dodger is offline
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The sugar content most likely went up also. Sweetness sells.
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Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 16:06
refmls refmls is offline
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I remember the veggies my grandfather grew organically. No artificial fertilizers or soil amendments, just a proper compost pile. The taste was 1000% better than what you can find in the grocery stores. And eggs just don't have the flavor I remember from his hens who scratched on the ground and ate the whole kernels of corn we shelled from the ears he grew.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 19:13
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quax quax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger
The sugar content most likely went up also. Sweetness sells.


Most definitely! Sugar content is a prime breeding selection criteria in apples which stems from the desire of customers for sweeter varieties. Fruit growers have to keep up with that upward-sweetness-spiral in our society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by refmls
I remember the veggies my grandfather grew organically. No artificial fertilizers or soil amendments, just a proper compost pile. The taste was 1000% better than what you can find in the grocery stores.


I donít think one can compare home garden veggies with groceries veggies when it comes to flavour. Main reason for differences lies in the time veggies are allowed for ripening. Commercial growers have to harvest earlier, as compared to home gardeners, to have a decent shelf-life for their products. Long transport requires even earlier harvest. Therefore a home garden veggie will always taste better, basically because of a longer ripening period.
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  #6   ^
Old Thu, Mar-02-06, 19:22
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LilithD LilithD is offline
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Hmm, funny ones to test for in veges: protein and iron. I don't expect to get that much of either from veges - I get them from iron. The vitamin C and riboflavin are a concern. Also, I wonder what other minerals and vitamins they tested for, that are important to get from veges.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Mar-03-06, 09:28
eryalen eryalen is offline
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If you ate 50% more of the modern veggies, would that not balance out the decline of nutrients? I don't want to get into the whole modern/organic debate (I was raised with an awareness of organic gardening. My mother was into organics in the fifties). I think the problem is people do not eat any kind of veggies.
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  #8   ^
Old Fri, Mar-03-06, 11:15
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Angeline Angeline is offline
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Last year, was my first time growing my own vegetables. I had a good fertile plot, a legacy from the previous owner. I enriched it with mushroom compost, good earth, and peat moss.

For a period of around 2 months I was eating vegetables from my own garden every day.

I felt healthier and my finger and nails looked healthier. Nails are a good indicator of the quality of your diet.

I'm so looking forward to having veggies again from my own garden. I might even expand the garden next year, in order to have enough vegetables to freeze for the winter months.
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, Mar-03-06, 16:17
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alisbabe alisbabe is offline
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Modern fuit and veg are grown to be larger - contain more water per volume.

They've also travelled further and are picked younger (when still not ripe).
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  #10   ^
Old Fri, Mar-03-06, 19:42
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GlendaRC GlendaRC is offline
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Quote:
He said an agriculture scientist appears to have been the first to pick up the disappearance of nutrients in 1981 in a paper comparing the data on nutrients on garden crops grown in the United States with those grown in England.

I seem to remember Adele Davis in Eat Right to Keep Fit, which I read back in the early 1970's, said the same thing - I think (I'm going by memory here) her words were "Experts tell us apricots are high in Vitamin A. My question is: which apricot, grown in what soil?" She had pretty impressive credentials as a bio-chemist specializing in nutrition - I also seem to remember that she was ridiculed as badly as Dr. Atkins.

Hmmmm .... do you suppose I have a morbid tendency to follow doctor's/scientist's advice that goes counter to the mainstream thinking? I think the answer is: YOU BETCHA!!!
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  #11   ^
Old Fri, Mar-03-06, 22:10
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Dodger Dodger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glendarc
I seem to remember Adele Davis in Eat Right to Keep Fit, which I read back in the early 1970's, said the same thing - I think (I'm going by memory here) her words were "Experts tell us apricots are high in Vitamin A. My question is: which apricot, grown in what soil?" She had pretty impressive credentials as a bio-chemist specializing in nutrition - I also seem to remember that she was ridiculed as badly as Dr. Atkins.

Hmmmm .... do you suppose I have a morbid tendency to follow doctor's/scientist's advice that goes counter to the mainstream thinking? I think the answer is: YOU BETCHA!!!
Adele was an idiot (in my opinion). She had little science behind her nutritional advice. She shot from the hip and went by her feelings. She was right about some things, but wrong more often than right.
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