Nutrition

70 Years of Nutritional Decline: Today’s Fruits and Vegetables are Lacking in Vitamins and Minerals

Posted on 14 September 2020

The carrot you eat today is not as good for you as the carrot you ate 50 years ago. But how is that possible?

The nutritional content of vegetables and fruits has been declining in the United States for the past 70 years, according to a studies in the journal of the American College of Nutrition (ACN) and the American Journal of Agricultural Sciences (AJAS) in Washington, DC.

Our food is becoming less nutritious: The nutritional content of vegetables and fruits has been declining in the United States for the past 70 years. An exhaustive study by Prof. Donald Davis at the University of Texas quantified the amount of nutrients loss in fruits and vegetables over during the last 70 years — 6% decline in protein content, 9% decline in phosphorus, 15% decline in iron and Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), 16% decline in calcium, 18% decline in Vitamin A, and 38% decline in Vitamin B (Riboflavin). Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15637215/

In a landmark study Prof. Donald Davis and his team at the University of Texas at Austin studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits.

Their findings showed consistent declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century.

  • 6% decline in protein content
  • 9% decline in phosphorus
  • 15% decline in iron
  • 15% decline vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  • 16% decline in calcium
  • 18% decline in vitamin A
  • 38% decline in vitamin B (Riboflavin)
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Prof Davis and his colleagues think that this is due to the spread of agricultural practices designed to improve traits such as size, growth rate, pest resistance, etc, anything other than nutrition.

Declining nutrient levels in our soil lead to fruits and vegetables low in vitamins and minerals

They also think that decline in nutrition in our fruits, and vegetables may be due to the soil being depleted of nutrients due to modern intensive farming techniques.

Whatever the reason it is unfortunately true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today.


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