The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutritional values for fruits and vegetables today compared to 1975 is major cause for concern according to Al Sears, MD, nutrition specialist, prolific writer and member of a number of professional societies that focus on health, wellness and anti-aging.
These are a few of the vegetable nutrient drops Dr. Sears mentioned in a recent article:
• Apples: Vitamin A is down 41%
• Sweet Peppers: Vitamin C is down 31%
• Watercress: Iron is down 88%
• Broccoli: Calcium and Vitamin A are down 50%
• Cauliflower: Vitamin C is down 45%, Vitamin B1 is down 48%; and Vitamin B2 is down 47%
• Collard Greens: Vitamin A is down 45%; Potassium is down 60%; and Magnesium is down 85%.
Why is the nutritional value of fresh foods decreasing?
One of the culprits seems to be the creation of “hybrid” forms of fruits and vegetables, which are designed more for color and shelf life than nutritional value. Unfortunately, they too often include more indigestible cellulose, sugar and water than essential micronutrients. Recent discoveries have also shown that unbelievablly sloppy shipping practices deplete nutrient density of fresh foods.
According to Dr. Sears, some food mineral content has dropped more than 80% from commercial farming technology and powerful fertilizers that tend to sterilize the soil, leaving it fairly depleted of mineral content.
Unfortunately, our bodies require increased calories to reach saiety (sense of fullness) when foods are lacking nutritional content. This, no doubt, accounts for part of the obesity problem our country faces today.
Most of us have been taught that our bodies ability to maintain energy and nutrient balance is dependent on a complex regulatory system that allows us to achieve and maintain a steady-state of energy and nutrient balance, particularly where macronutrients are concerned (protein, fat and carbohydrates).
However, investigators have also now noted repeatedly that obese people have a lower blood concentration of a number of micronutrients, and a few studies suggest weight loss associated with daily multiple vitamin/mineral/antioxidant consumption. This weight loss may be linked to an earlier sense of fullness from foods that aren’t as nutrient dense as they used to be, if or when we take full-spectrum multiple micronutrient supplements.
As we know, nutrients act together to create health, and multiple insufficiencies contribute to disease. This is why single nutrient supplementation trials and studies rarely produce earthshattering results.
The simplistic notion that body fat is determined exclusively by voluntary food consumption and exercise behaviors is truly outdated thinking.
Bodies starved for nutrition will continue to crave empty calorie, high-carb foods until they feel some sense of satiety. This does not mean that vitamin supplements will replace a nutrient-dense diet. It simply means that a well-designed multiple (based on the scientific information we have today) can provide many of the nutrients missing from our food sources and in many cases help prevent or slow the progression of age-related degenerative disease.
As income goes up, the quality of food consumed goes up in most cases. This is not rocket science. Nor are food choices simply a matter of ignorance, as too many would like to believe of people who suffer both obesity and poverty.
Food safety and nutrient intake should, but probably won’t, be part of both parties convention platforms since the taxpayer cost of nutrient-deficiency disease has clearly become unsustainable.
Ellen Troyer, MT MA Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Office