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Fruits and Vegetables are Dying


TomBAvoider
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https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/broccoli-is-dying-corn-is-toxic-long-live-microbiomes/

“You would have to eat twice as much broccoli today to get the same nutrients as a generation ago.” That is according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, from 1975 to 2010, as reported by Planetary Health/Amberwaves. So much chewing! And in fact, the situation may be even more dire. Data going back to 1940, as reported by Eco Farming Daily, shows: “The level of every nutrient in almost every kind of food has fallen between 10 and 100 percent. An individual today would need to consume twice as much meat, three times as much fruit, and four to five times as many vegetables to obtain the same amount of minerals and trace elements available in those same foods in 1940.” 

We don't need to get hung up on whether the numbers are exact. If it is true that varietals have differing nutritional profiles, then it's worth thinking about. There's this old saw about how F&V from Europe taste quite different from American Big Agribusiness ones, but what does that mean? I can testify to that myself, it's an effect I've noticed long ago, that the flavors of F&V from Europe are much more intense - while they may be smaller and not look as nice as American ones, they smell and taste a lot more. Does that mean they have more phytochemicals? Are they therefore healthier? It's not clear to me, and I have seen no studies. Parenthetically, I can say that this difference has been slowly eroding - European F&V are increasingly blandified to resemble American ones, these days if you want to find the old school F&V you have to source them from further East, from the former Communist countries or the less industrial agri-developed ones. Again, I have no idea if there are actual health implications of this, or perhaps those differences do not impact health outcomes. I just don't know.

But if we assume that F&V have been losing their nutritional bennies, regardless of exactly how much, then do we need to adjust for studies that were performed decades back, involving health outcomes upon consumption of X number of servings of F&V? Going forward, does that mean we need to adjust servings numbers based on nutritional deterioration, in order to still hit our 3-5 or 7-9 or whatnot servings we consume? And at some point, doesn't that impact the calories - so now we need to gorge ourselves on calories just to get adequate nutrition, in a loss of efficiency and perhaps in the future we'll all need to be obese in order to have proper nutrition, and that will completely vindicate the obesity paradox.

Now, I don't buy into the anti-GMO hype, rather I think perhaps GMO will come to rescue, at least if the engineering focuses more on raising the nutrtional content, so I don't think we are doomed by any means. But until we reach that moment, what do we do in the meanwhile, and how do we adjust our F&V consumption.  

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My wife and I grow most of our herbs, veg and fruit and since we got chickens and have them do our pest control, weeding, composting, tillage and fertilizing the improvements in our produce have been striking.  No idea what the results are nutritionally but the productivity, flavor and appearance are excellent.  Our eggs are also strikingly different in appearance and flavor from commercial eggs, even the premium free range ones available here.

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