Is our food becoming less nutritious? Many people claim that the nutrient content in our food has been decreasing over the decades. But is that really true, and should we be worried?

In 2004 a study was published that checked out 43 different common garden crops, and they way nutritional value had changed between 1950 and 1999. Now, what they found was that on the average, the protein content of these plants decreased by about 6%, Vitamin C decreased 15%, and vitamin B2 by a whopping 38 percent. They also noticed declines in minerals like iron and calcium. Now, it could be debated that how well could we actually have measured those nutrients back in 1950? ,Nevertheless there are still concerns about the food we’re eating today which might be less nutritious then the same vegetables 50 years ago. Several other recent studies also proves a pattern is emerging. So if we’re witnessing a nutrient collapse, then what’s causing it?

Depletion of Soil

One contributing factor that many people point to for our food becoming less nutritious is the depletion of the soils. Given that plants draw their nutrients up from the soil, intense farming practices were thought to be the explanation for of nutrient depletion. If you look at micronutrients, things like minerals, well, there are decreasing levels in plants. But, farmers have always put tons of effort into maintaining their soils and using fertilizers to ensure that the plants have all the nutrients they need, which makes that argument less convincing. Also, we’re still getting the same or as a matter of fact we are getting even bigger and more prolific plants than what we it used to get back, so surely they wouldn’t grow that well if they didn’t have the nutrients they need in the soil. So what else might be the cause for nutrients to be declining?

Selective Breeding

Another possibility is plants’ selective breeding. If you look at crop plant like corn today, they’re barely the same -size-wise when you compare them to their ancestors, the wild corn from which these were bred. Basically, since the advancements in the field of agriculture, we have been breeding our food crops for higher yields, for resistance to pests and changes in the climate. And, by and large, we’ve been successful. Crops are now bigger and grow faster than ever before. But are they more nutritious? Maybe we’ve accidentally been outcasted the nutrition out of our foods in pursuit of other objectives. It’s tough to actually assess how big of a contributor to the cause of our food becoming less nutritious selective breeding is, because we can’t easily compare this product to the same produce a hundred years ago or a thousand years ago. So we need something else to be able to determine whether it’s selective breeding causing this decrease or something else. What would be really helpful in assessment of the factor would be a plant that has never been selectively bred. Where would you find one like that? Well, this is where weeds come in handy. In North America, there’s a wildflower called goldenrod which is an important source of protein for bees, but not humans that’s why it has remained wild, and untouched Through selective breeding, but how would you know what goldenrod was like 100 or 200 years ago? The Smithsonian Institute has been keeping hundreds of samples of goldenrod dating all the way back to 1842. Using these samples and samples collected in 2014, scientists were able to compare modern goldenrod with goldenrod from over a hundred years ago, and the results were astounding. They found that there was a 30% decrease in the amount of protein in the goldenrod pollen over that period of time. So If it’s not selective breeding, what else has caused goldenrod to become less nutritious over the last 150 years or so?

Too Much Carbon

The last rather surprising idea was that carbon dioxide could play a vital role. In cross-section, air with its gas particles of carbon dioxide mixed, enters the plant and makes its way into every living cell. For plants CO2 is like  food in the air. It basically increases the growth of all plants. Over the last couple of centuries, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased a lot, from about 280 parts per million to over 400 parts per million. Now, that might not sound like a lot, but if you’re thinking of it as plant food, we’re talking about an increase by almost 50%, and we the impact can be seen by space generated images. It is called the greening of the planet. Scientists have been tracking the impact and effects of CO2 on plants via experiments called FACE, which stands for Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment. Their experiments are executed by injecting more CO2 into the area where plant crops are grown, and they find that wheat, barley, rice, and potatoes; will grow faster if there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere. But here’s the thing. They don’t necessarily become more nutritious, they simply increase in the amount of carbs. In Japan and China scientists conducted other studies by pumping carbon dioxide into rice crops to simulate the kind of CO2 concentrations expected in 50 years’ time. On the average, protein levels fell by 10 percent iron by 8 percent and zinc by 5 percent, But a lower concentration of nutrients doesn’t necessarily correlate with a decline in the plant’s nutrient contents. It is called the dilution effect. So what does all this mean for us? Well, in three decades ahead, scientists estimate that up to a hundred and fifty million people in the developing world may be on the verge of protein deficiency, due to the decreasing levels of protein in their staple foods. So does that mean we should always be taking vitamins and adding supplements to our diets? No Well, . At least, not yet. Because the nutrient declines are small enough that you should still be able to get everything you need from a well-balanced diet, including wide range of fruits, veggies.

Side-Effects of the excess amount of Carbon in Food

The increasing levels of CO2 in our food and the dilution effect may be exacerbating the obesity epidemic. The thinking goes like this: We feel full, and satiated when we’ve consumed a certain amount of protein. So if the protein levels are going down We may have to eat more food, more carbohydrates, and more fats to achieve the same level of protein to make our stomach feel full. And that may make us fatter. While this is still a debated theory what is becoming increasingly clear is that the changing atmosphere, specifically the rising level of CO2, is changing the food we eat.

The Sources about researches and studies mentioned above on how our is Food Becoming becoming less Nutritious” is down below.

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  1. […] I wanted to be a film-maker. And so what did I do? Well, I found a film director with a strange name who lived in Vancouver. I saw her on the cover of this magazine and then I just looked up her number in the phone book, in the white pages, because that is how you did back in the year 2000. And I gave her a call and she said she was on the other line,but she would call me back. And, strangely enough, she did call me back.And it was amazing. I got to chat to her about film making. I guess what I really wanted was for someone else to be able to provide me with an opportunity to get on set, to get some experience in that industry and show me what it is like. I just want to know and it is so hard when you are on the outside to figure out how to break in. You just want to reach out to someone who knows and say: Help me with this. There is a psychological phenomenon known as learned helplessness. And the experiments conducted way back decades ago that established this phenomenon were really quite terrible. What they would do is take dogs and for some of them, at least, they would force them to endure a punishment. For example, they would receive electric shocks and there was nothing they could do to prevent those shocks.For other dogs there were actually little levers or a fence they could hop over that would stop the shocks. Now later on they took all of those dogs and they tested them again, but in environments where every one of those dogs had the opportunity to avoid the shocks by taking some action. Now what was found was those dogs that had been forced to endure the shocks and had no way of stopping them just kind of came to accept the shocks even when there were actions that they could take which would stop them. So this is learned helplessness. They have learned that there is nothing they can do to stop that uncomfortable situation. There is a related study carried out with adults where they were trying to complete a task, except there was this distracting noise playing. Now some of the adults had the ability to turn off that noise, whereas others did not. It was not under their control. And when you look at the performance, the adults who had the control to turn off the noise performed better even when they didn’t actually exercise that control. So they just let the noise play, but the knowledge that they could shut it off if they wanted to, made them perform better. I have worked at many jobs now, some very menial and some more managerial or entrepreneurial like I was basically running the show. And what I found is that there is a kind of this divide between employees and managers. When you are an employee and you are assigned to do something, you try to do it as best you have been shown, but if you hit a roadblock you kind of stop and you go to your manager or supervisor and you say: Hey, what do I do now? I have done that before. I have done it when I was a research assistant. I would get some results. I didn’t really know what was going on. And I would just take it to my supervisor. The supervisor would say: Oh,well, why don’t you try this? And that suggests that they made was always one that I knew or, you know, I could have thought of if I had just spent five minutes on it or if I really wanted to achieve that goal. But instead, I just had this mentality like: I am carrying out this task and when I get stuck, I am just going to ask someone else. You know, there is a story that Tim Ferriss tells. He is the guy who wrote The Four Hour Work Week which is a book I would recommend.But he went and visited this university and he challenged the students that he was talking to. He said: Look, I will give you 25,000 dollars and a trip around the world for anyone who shows that they have made contact, by some sort of signature or email, a letter or something, with either Jennifer Lopez, Bill Clinton—who I think at the time was the President, possibly—and J.D. Salinger, who is the most reclusive writer of all time.And did anyone do it? No. Not a one. Now the following year he went back to the same university and in addition to making the challenge he told them the story from the previous year, that no one had actually done it, no one had really tried. And that year six people actually achieved his challenge. The point being, you need to find a way around the learned helplessness mentality, the employee mentality and find a way to realize that things that seem impossible can be accomplished if you really accept that you have to control of these things, that it is not outside of your control. It may be a question we should ask is: Does our school system promote learned helplessness? Do we force kids to suffer punishments that they really can’t change time and time and time again and then we expose them to a world and say: Now you go out and do what you want to do? I think to a certain degree we are doing that. You know, school is for a lot of kids just a weird and unusual kind of punishment and I guess it is no wonder that they learn that, you know, there is things beyond their control, because school is kind of about taking control away from kids. You know, for the dogs. How did they get thedogs to overcome their learned helplessness and actually get away from the shocks they were receiving? They tried treats and encouragements, but it didn’t work. They had to physically move the dogs away from the area where they were being shocked at least twice before they would actually learn that they had the power to change their faith, that they didn’t have to suffer that kind of punishment again and again. But with you, I feel like just letting you know that this thing exists might be enough to change the way you view your life and your opportunities. Let’s talk briefly about career paths. I applied to acting school three times and was rejected three times. I applied to film school twice and was rejected twice. I think what I was looking for out of those institutions was a sure fire way to get to the career that I wanted. I was basically doing the same thing that I was doing when I asked that director in Vancouver to help me out, to get me onset. I was asking for someone else to make this possible for me. I mean, there is a small number of jobs where the career path is clearly laid out. You want to be a doctor, you have to go to med school. You want to be a lawyer, you have to go to law school. You want tobe an academic, you have to do a PhD. But I think there is a much larger group of careers where you really have to figure out a way to do it yourself. And that is the whole point.That is the whole challenge. You feel like you are not in control and you want someone else to help you get that control or get in the place where you need to be, but no one can really help you. Just like that director couldn’t really help me get where I need to be, I cannot help other people get where they need to be. You really have it all up to you. I mean, you have to demonstrate that you can do what you want to do. You know, there is this quote. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Now my point is: When you are contemplating the things that you can and cannot change, ere on the side of thinking that you can change much more than you can, because often you will be able to. I mean, everything seems impossible until it is done. That is a Nelson Mandela quote, which I think is kind of appropriate in this circumstance. Things look a lot more impossible than they are. And, really, itis up to you to find out. Hey, as you can tell, books have had a huge impact on my life and how I see the world. And when I am traveling I like to listen to them as audiobooks, because it is just more convenient on planes and trains. And there is actually one I wanted to recommend to you. It is called Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. It is about how humans don’t really behave rationally even when we think that is what we are doing. So it provides pretty good insight into how your brain works and how the brains of everyone around you work. Read also about How our food is Becoming Less Nutritious? […]

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