Nutrient decline in fruits and vegetables
The nutritional content of vegetables and fruits decreases
The nutritional content of vegetables and fruits has declined significantly in the last 50 to 100 years. This is proven by several studies.
The dilution effect
In 1981, Jarrell and Beverly demonstrated the so-called dilution effect for the first time: they have shown that yields have increased enormously since the 1940s through the use of fertilizers and other measures, while the concentration of minerals and nutrients in plants has fallen. This is the first evidence of a negative correlation between yield and nutrient content in different vegetables, cereals and fruits.
How does the dilution effect come about?
The plants collect more mass, so provide more yield. The amount of nutrients it contains remains the same. The result: 100 grams of high yielding plants contain less nutrients than 100 grams of lower yielding plants.
Further studies confirm this dilution effect: A study by Davis et al. examined the decline of proteins and vitamins in 43 vegetables and fruits in 2004 and showed an average decrease of 6% in proteins and 15-38% in vitamins.
Ekholm et al. In 2007, Finland also showed a decline in nutrients in various plants since the mid-1970s. 17 vegetables, 6 berries, 4 cereals and apples were examined. Decreases of vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, iron and phosphorus were confirmed.
The genetic dilution effect
Shortly after the turn of the millennium, four scientists independently demonstrated the so-called genetic dilution effect: Farnham 2000, Garvin 2002 Monasterio & Graham also 2002 and Scott 2006.
In the course of these studies, traditional low-yielding vegetables and crops were planted under the same growing conditions alongside new high-yielding varieties. Thus, the soil condition, cultivation and climatic conditions could be excluded as influencing factors on the dilution effect. The only difference was the genetic characteristics of the seed.
Nevertheless, all four studies showed a negative correlation between yield and mineral concentration. The new, higher-yielding plants contained fewer nutrients than the old, lower-yielding ones.
This is sometimes because more plants had to divide up the same amount of nutrients from the soil. And the lower plant density brought less yield, but the plants could provide more nutrients.
While in the past, the dilution effect was always attributed to external conditions such as fertilization, soil conditions and climate, these studies showed that the dilution effect is due not only to external influences but also to the genes of the seed.
Yield increases and modern farming methods
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, yields doubled and tripled in the main growing areas, especially vegetables.
These increases in yield in connection with modern cultivation methods thus lead to a steadily decreasing nutrient concentration in vegetables and fruits. This is due to both the genetic and the environmental dilution effect. On the one hand, the lower nutrient concentration is already in the genes of today's seed, on the other hand, the nutrients contained in it are further reduced by fertilization and modern cultivation methods.
Welch and Graham showed in a study in 2004 that more than three billion people worldwide suffer from a lack of nutrients and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are the main sources of this, so a decline in healthy ingredients in these product groups is very problematic and momentous.
Medical observation - consequence for Sanopoly
In various practices, the vital substance status has been collected over a long period of time, symptoms recorded and the proportion of deficiency responsible for certain symptoms determined. So a picture of what was missing resulted.
Sanopoly's approach was to prevent and treat these vital deficiencies that can be symptomatic. This is how dietary supplements and dietetic foods are made that are tangible, measurable, and completely balancing these nails and acting preventative.
Literature Cited Davis, D.R. 2005. Trade-offs in agriculture and nutrition. Food Technol. 59:120. Davis, D.R. 2006. Commentary on: ‘Historical variation in the mineral composition of edible horticultural products’. J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 81:553–554. Davis, D.R., M.D. Epp, and H.D. Riordan. 2004. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J. Amer. Coll. Nutr. 23:669–682. Ekholm, P., H. Reinivuo, P. Mattila, H. Pakkala, J. Koponen, A. Happonen, J. Hellstr ¨om, and M.-L. Ovaskainen. 2007. Changes in the mineral and trace element contents of cereals, fruits and vegetables in Finland. J. Food Compos. Anal. 20:487–495. Fan, M.-S., F.-J. Zhao, S.J. Fairweather-Tait, P.R. Poulton, S.J. Dunham, and S.P. McGrath. 2008. Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years. J. Trace Elem. Med. Biol. (in press). Farnham, M.W., M.A. Grusak, and M. Wang. 2000. Calcium and magnesium concentration of inbred and hybrid broccoli heads. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 125:344–349. Farnham, M.W., P.E. Wilson, K.K. Stephenson, and J.W. Fahey. 2004. Genetic and environmental effects on glucosinolate content and chemoprotective potency of broccoli. Plant Breed. 123:60–65. Garvin, D.F., R.M. Welch, and J.W. Finley. 2006. Historical shifts in the seed mineral micronutrient concentration of US hard red winter wheat germplasm. J. Sci. Food Agr. 86:2213– 2220. Garvin, D.F., R.M. Welch, J.W. Finley, A.K. Fritz, E. Donmez, J.P. Shroyer, and G.M. Paulsen. 2002. Seed micronutrient contents of a historical collection of hard red winter wheats (poster presentation). In: Annual meeting abstracts [CD-ROM]. Amer. Soc. Agron./Crop Sci. Soc. Amer./Soil Sci. Soc. Amer., Madison, WI. Hughes, M., M.H. Chaplin, and L.W. Martin. 1979. Influence of mycorrhiza on the nutrition of red raspberries. HortScience 14:521–523. Jarrell, W.M. and R.B. Beverly. 1981. The dilution effect in plant nutrition studies, p. 197– 224. In: Brady, N.C. (ed.). Adv. Agron. Vol. 34. Academic Press, New York, NY. Mayer, A.-M. 1997. Historical changes in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables. Brit. Food J. 99:207–211. Monasterio, I. and R.D. Graham. 2000. Breeding for trace minerals in wheat. Food Nutr. Bull. 21:392–396. Scott, M.P., J.W. Edwards, C.P. Bell, J.R. Schussler, and J.S. Smith. 2006. Grain composition and amino acid content in maize cultivars representing 80 years of commercial maize varieties. Maydica 51:417–423. Simmonds, N.W. 1995. The relation between yield and protein in cereal grain. J. Sci. Food Agr. 67:309–315. Singh, R.J. 2007. Preface, p. 1–3. In: Singh, R.J. (ed.). Genetic resources, chromosome engineering, and crop improvement, Volume 3: Vegetable crops. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2008a. Vegetables and melons yearbook. U.S. Dept. Agr., Tables 5 and 6,Washington, DC. 18 Sept. 2008.
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