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Mairi Beautyman

Mairi Beautyman

Posted February 18, 2009 | 03:47 PM (EST)

Nutrional Value and Taste of American Fruits and Vegetables Has Plunged, Study Says


Have you noticed that fruits and vegetables just don't taste like they used to? Well turns out you aren't just imagining the good ol' days: According to a report in the February issue of the Journal of HortScience, most fertilized American produce is diluted with carbohydrates, making it taste significantly less delicious, when compared to what was served in your grandparent's day. And guess what, it also has a fraction of the healthy nutrients.

organic sweet potatoes photo
Photo via Flickr

The report reexamines a study released in 1981 by Jarrell and Beverly in Advances in Agronomy which indicates the mineral composition in fertilized plants is highly diluted by "dry matter" which has no nutritional value. The average vegetable, says Donald R. Davis, a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, "is anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago." And yes, these minerals are what make fruits and vegetables taste so good.

strawberries blueberries fruit photo
Photo via Flickr

If you haven't yet discovered that a carrot or a potato isn't the the same as any old carrot or potato, head to Tuscany. In a small organic market near the Duomo in Florence, you'll find potatoes that actually taste--when simply boiled--like they are already buttered.

Which brings us back to perhaps the most powerful argument for organic produce: If you aren't going organic for the nutritional value, the destructive farming practices, or to pass up the harmful pesticides, you might as well just go for taste.

More From TreeHugger.com and PlanetGreen.com on Organic Produce
Got Organic?
Organic Food: Healthier for You and the Planet
Organic Food is Healthier: Once More

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