Grocery store Vegetables are not as nutritious as they used to be?

“University of Texas, Austin. Davis claims the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago.”

Not only are those vegetables you been eating at the grocery store less tasty, but may be getting marginal nutritional value.  They discuss some of the potential factors in this including use for synthetic fertilizer and the desire to achieve higher yield during a shorter timetable, unfortunately the poor plants do not have time to absorb the beneficial minerals (as do we)

This article is timely with my Chemistry of Gardening — What nutrients do plants need? post.  If you have sufficient primary macronutrients (NPK) which is the primary contents on synthetic fertilizer you can still have great yields and fast growing plants but quality of plants are reduced.  What the problem appears to me, is the secondary macronutrients are not being supplemented (magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) which is causing the nutrient/taste deficiency.  Organic methods natural provide these nutrients by the addition of organic matter to the soil. 

I am cheap and organic vegetables are expensive, this is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.  Hope is still here you can easily grow your own organic vegetables at home.  If you still think growing your own vegetables is a bad idea here are a list of benefits from buying at the grocery store:

  • Continue to rise in cost so you won’t have to worry what to do with your extra money
  • No confusion with the small variety available (transport well)
  • They don’t taste as good, so no guilt in enjoying eating your veggies
  • Less of those pesky minerals for your body to absorb
  • Opportunity of getting a trip to the ER after picking up salmonella

In all seriousness this is a scary development where people could be malnourished even with a decent supply of fruits and vegetables. 

16 Responses to “Grocery store Vegetables are not as nutritious as they used to be?”

  1. Robj98168 Says:

    I knew it. Not only do the tomatoes look anemic, well it turns out they are!


  2. jimmycrackedcorn Says:

    Funny post…at least the “benefits” of buying grocery store vegetables! Why the advertisement in my Google Reader?


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Robj98168, guess now we know.jimmycrackedcorn, Glad you enjoyed it. Not sure about advertising I don’t see anything on my side. Maybe google gave up on the “Don’t be Evil” thing.


  4. HarveyAvatar Says:

    unfortunately, no surprise here.


  5. Patrice Farmer Says:

    Isn’t that something! Crazy how they can zap out all the nutrition and still sell it to us. I like the ideal of not going to the E.R. please!


  6. Daphne Says:

    Sadly I’m not surprised either. Conventional fertilization really lacks so much in the way of nutrients for the plants. I’m wondering if they did any research on the nutrient content of organic vegetables.


  7. Daphne Says:

    Hmm got distracted and didn't finish my thought :> Anyway. I'd love to see a comparison. I'm wondering if it is just the nutrients given, or it also relates to how long it takes them to get to us before we eat them. Lettuce fresh from my garden can easily last three weeks in my fridge before rotting (I've had it last a month). I can only keep supermarket lettuce alive for a week and that is if I'm lucky. It is probably a combination of both nutrients given and time spent in transit (possibly under not ideal conditions).


  8. Claire Says:

    Michael Pollan talked about this in his book In Defense of Food – pretty scary!


  9. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    HarveyAvatar, same here but guess I wasn’t alive long enough to know if vegetables from from the grocery store ever tasted good or were nutrtious, though definately know the food from my backyard tastes better.Patrice, guess as long as it looks like a vegetable.Daphne, I would be curious of a comparison of nutrient contents of organic to conventional. Given I can get a full analysis of soil samples for $10 wonder what they would do if I sent them some shredded lettuce/carrots :)Claire, will definately have to add that to my list…my list is getting long.


  10. Matron Says:

    I have read similar studies here in England. Supermarkets just have to cut corners everywhere to make a profit don’t they?


  11. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    I did a little more research and found another reference to this study about 2 years ago so definitely not breaking news, just on its second cycle I presume. Still haven’t found any good studies comparing nutritional value of conventional versus organic produce, though I know it must exist.


  12. joyce - Vegetable Gardening Says:

    Interesting post. I’m a gardener myself, and I just stumbled upon your site.
    Glad I found it 🙂


  13. KimJong-il's new and crazy diet - Page 2 - ThermoLife International Forums Says:

    […] used to be, unless you buy local organic. Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago Grocery store Vegetables are not as nutritious as they used to be? Also, eggs, almonds, chicken all have nutrition involved with them. quote from about.com […]


  14. Hana Says:

    I would like to know How to get the best nutrition in vegetable?


  15. peg bainbridge Says:

    What I want to know is, what are those freaky yellow squash they are selling in the grocery aisle? Dyed? Radioactive? Plastic? I won’t buy them, that’s for sure.


  16. pea brained gardener Says:

    […] taste watery and mielie. And, on top of the terrible tast of store bought tomatos, apparently they lack in nutrition. What happened to the tomato? The lack of yummy tomatos in the world could be one of the most […]


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