The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Nutrient content of our food is declining

The front page of the June/July Carlson Laboratories newsletter has some troubling news for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet. Even healthy foods -- fresh fruits and vegetables -- may not be as healthy as they once were. The nutrient content of our groceries is apparently in decline.

The USDA periodically surveys, samples and analyzes foods for nutrient content. Comparing the 1998 survey to the 1975 survey for 12 fruits (apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, grapefruits, lemons, oranges, peaches, pineapples, tangerines, strawberries, and watermelons) shows a decline in vital vitamins and minerals. These fruits had 29 percent less calcium, 16 percent less iron, 16 percent less vitamin A and 24 percent less phosphorus.

New food production techniques are failing in the basic goal of delivering nutrition to the customer. We need to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables for better health. However, we may not be getting the benefits we ought, because of depleted soils and new plant species.

Is organic produce superior? In some respects, yes, but there are no guarantees.

I consider this one of the most important public health issues of our time. Our government pursues many useless goals, but testing the food supply and promoting ways to grow more nutritious foods would be a very practical service to the American people.