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Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?

the University of Texas
Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
the Journal of the American College of Nutrition
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Organic Consumers Association
Kushi Institute
the British Food Journal
Vitamin A
these.”CONTACTS: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
E - The Environmental Magazine

Esther G.
Donald Davis
Roddy Scheer
Doug Moss
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Caleb A. Scharf15
Annie Sneed16
Robin Lloyd
Chelsea Harvey
Mark Alpert19
Adina Wise


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The New York Times
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Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.“Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly,” reported Davis, “but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” There have likely been declines in other nutrients, too, he said, such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950 and more research is needed to find out how much less we are getting of these key vitamins and minerals.The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. “They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these.”CONTACTS: Journal of the American College of Nutrition,; Kushi Institute,; Organic Consumers Association,® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (

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