Until now, I walked the fruit and vegetable aisles of the supermarket with that mixture of innocence and happiness that comes from having seen them empty less than two years ago. After all, I am one of those types of people for whom that, happiness, is summed up in a tomato with oil and salt. And yet, from now on, I’m going to look at them skeptically.
And it is that there is more and more evidence that indicates that many current fruits, vegetables and grains contain less protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C than those grown decades ago. It is possible that any past tense is not better than the current one (it is possible that none, in fact); but what about potatoes, carrots or tomatoes?
Was any past vegetable better?. With this suspicion between eyebrows and eyebrows, a team from the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita (Kansas) decided to find a way to compare old vegetables with current ones. For them, they took advantage of the fact that the United States Department of Agriculture maintains a registry of nutrients since 1950. Thanks to this, they were able to analyze the differences in 13 nutrients from 43 different crops.
After adjusting for differences in moisture content, calculate the ratios of nutrient contents for each food and nutrient. This presented several challenges: the most important were the problems related to the reliability of nutrient measurements in the 1950s. The researchers studied the processes and made adjusted estimates so that the comparisons were sufficiently acceptable.
The river sounds…. Indeed, the researchers found decreases significant in 6 nutrients (proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C) with drops that ranged between 6% protein and 38% riboflavin; in the rest of the nutrients no significant differences were found.
What’s going on here? That’s the big question. Despite many theories, the authors’ data support the idea that these real declines are generally explained by changes in varieties grown between 1950 and 1999. For decades, the industry has focused on finding varieties with an increasing yield and this has had, as a parallel effect, a reduction in the nutrient content. It is something that we have been suspecting for a long time, but that does not have an easy solution.
Image | nrd