nutrient decline in vegetables and fruit
bobh at ioa.com
Fri Jan 14 05:40:40 PST 2000
The following was kindly supplied by the Kushi Institute...and copies of
this e-mail go to friends interested in the grand issue of exemplary human
health. I shocked that the decline is so great since the 1970s...I would
have believed since the 1930s before seeing this!
Thank you for your inquiry regarding our study on the decline in
nutrients in U.S. foods between the 1970s and the late 1990s. Our study
was based on new food composition tables posted on the Internet by the
USDA compared with the last published version over 20 years ago. We
found in a random sampling of garden vegetables that vitamin and mineral
content were down right across the board about 25 to 50%. Grains, beans,
and other foods showed lesser nutrient declines, but also a clear trend.
Organic Gardening magazine contacted us about posting our article
and tables/charts on its web site, which I imagine is
If you would like a hard copy of the original article, please email
me your mailing address.
Director, One Peaceful World"
From: PHNUTR-L-owner at u.washington.edu
[mailto:PHNUTR-L-owner at u.washington.edu]On Behalf Of Anne-Marie Berenice
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2000 2:15 PM
To: Public Health Nutrition Discussion and Information Group
Subject: nutrient decline in vegetables and fruit
I have just been forwarded some of the mailings re this subject.
In the UK I did some comparisons of old and new data from McCance and
Widdowson's Composition of Foods tables and found that there have been
substantial declines in some minerals in fruit and vegetables during the 50
year period 1930 to 1980.
The abstract is below. I presented this at the International Conference on
Agricultural Production and Nutrition, Tufts, 1997. This is the conference
one of your list members was referring to, I believe.
As I mention in the paper, it is not clear what is causing the reductions,
If they are not anomalies of sampling or measurement they could be caused
by soil factors, variety choice or agricutural practices or a combination.
This certainly needs following up with more research. Similar reductions
have been noted in the USA food tables and reported by the Kushi Institute
in their publication 'One Peaceful World' some time last year.
Dept of Nutritional Sciences
TI: Historical changes in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables
SO: British-Food-Journal, 99 (6) 207-211, 1997..
NT: 6 ref.
DE: fruits-; minerals-; vegetables-; united-kingdom
AB: A comparison of the mineral content of 20 fruits and 20 vegetables
grown in the
1930s and the 1980s (published in the United Kingdom 'Composition of Foods'
tables) was made. The 8 minerals analysed were Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu and
Statistically significant reductions were observed in the levels of Ca, Mg,
Cu and Na in
vegetables and Mg, Fe, Gu and K in fruit. The only mineral that showed no
differences over the 50 yr period was P. Water content increased
significantly and DM
decreased significantly in fruit. These results indicate that a nutritional
associated with the quality of food has developed over the 50 yr period. It
that the changes could have been caused by anomalies of measurement or
changes in the food system, changes in the var. grown or changes in
practice. It is recommended that the causes of the differences in mineral
their effect on human health be investigated. [From En summ.]
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