Taste, nutrients decline as size of crops grows

I wanted to write about this last week, when I first read about it, but it somehow got pushed into my story queue.

A report issued this week examined several recent studies by food scientists, nutritionists, growers and plant breeders. It found clear evidence that as the produce we eat gets larger, its vitamins, minerals and beneficial chemical compounds significantly diminish, as do taste and aroma.

Growing bigger tomatoes and ears of corn leads to a bigger yield for the producer, but the trade-off is the lower nutritional value.


Donald Davis, a senior researcher at the University of Texas, did some of the most illuminating research into the disappearing nutrients.

He compared Agriculture Department figures on nutrient content for 43 common fruits and vegetables.

Davis says historical data spanning 50 to 70 years show apparent declines of 5 percent to 40 percent or more in minerals, vitamins and proteins in groups of foods, especially vegetables.

Part of me is not really shocked that this is occurring. However, it is kind of a big deal that there is now mounting scientific evidence to support something that many of us have suspected for years (just ask the Washington Apple industry).

The next time someone points at that there is no nutritional benefit to eating organic, I’ll point them to these studies.

Tags: , , ,