“Just eat a balanced meal.”
Yes, right – and just where will I get that meal?
You think that carrots, oranges or salads have the same amount of nutrients as what your parent ate? Well, welcome to the Twilight Zone!
Academia loves to rattle off all the old standard clichés without considering whether anything has changed about them. The old “balanced” meal may still exist – but is it still a nutritional meal?
Do you get the same amount of nutrients today from plants? There have been several studies now in different countries and the results are shocking.
The studies are showing
a stunning drop in nutrient levels!
Perhaps most quoted is the landmark study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition by Dr. Davis of the Biochemical Institute, University of Texas.
He points to three types of evidence showing nutrient declines in fruits and vegetables in both the United States and Britain.
Evidence of fertilization, and other modern farming practices, lowering the mineral concentrations which is called the “dilution effect”.
The main culprit here is soil depletion. Fertilization doesn’t replace all the nutrients and minerals taken out. When people say modern agricultural methods strip nutrients, especially minerals, they mean the nutrients remaining have simply decreased.
Three recent studies of historical food nutritional composition found declines of up to 40%, or more, in some minerals. One study found similar results in vitamins and protein.
To give you an idea, here is a list, compiled from several studies, by Zack Kaldveer, in Organic Consumers Association, Nov. 20, 2013. It is a comparison emphasizing the difference between farming practices of historical organic farming vs. modern commercial farming.
Organic vs Non-Organic:
Vitamin C in corn: 52% more
Vitamin C in berries: 52% more
Calcium: 63% more
Chromium: 78% more
Iron: 73% more
Magnesium: 118% more
Molybdenum: 178% more
Phosphorus: 91% more
Potassium: 125% more
Zinc: 60% more
Flavonoids: 30% more
Vitamins Ave: 25% more
Vitamin C: 25% more
Resveratrol in red grapes: 30% more
Phenolic tomato content: 139% more
Polyphenols in berries and corn: 58% more
Eriocitrin in a glass of lemonade: 10x more
Eriocitrinin organic lime juice: 3x more
Flavonoids- quercetin and kaempferol: 79% or 97% more
Lycopene and antioxidants in ketchup: 57% or 50% more
Wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce nutrients: 20-40% more
Antioxidants contained in organic fruit and vegetables: 40% more
A 10-year study found almost double the antioxidants.(1)
Whole food ingredients contained in organic breads: 49% more
(vs 24% natural bread, 12% conventional bread)
3. Genetic and GMO
There is a newly recognized genetic dilution effect (which GMO would fall under). Side-by-side plantings have found consistently negative correlations between yield and concentrations of minerals and protein (including grains). For example, corn:
Buy organic. Organic standards do not allow the use of GMO inputs. There are three types of organic labels:
- “100% organic” means all ingredients are organic
- “Organic” means that at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. The other 5%, however, still have to be non-GMO
- “Made with organic …” (ingredient name, such as soy). This label means that at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic, but the remaining 30 percent still have to be non-GMO.
Look for “Non-GMO” labels. Companies may voluntarily label products as Non-GMO. Some labels state “Non-GMO” while others spell out “Made without genetically modified ingredients.” Some products limit their claim to only one particular “at-risk” ingredient such as soy lecithin, listing it as “Non-GMO.”
All this does not mean that commercially grown food does not have value. It can be eaten – and give some nutrition.
However, it is also apparent that it would be wise to begin to move towards naturally grown food, as much as possible. Requesting these foods (even if you end up eating something else) lets business people know there is a demand.
- Alyson E. Mitchell, Yun-Jeong Hong, Eunmi Koh, Diane M. Barrett, D. E. Bryant, R. Ford Denison, Stephen Kaffka, Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes. Dept. of Food Science and Technology and Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis, and Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (15), pp 6154–6159