The New Nutrient Deficiency
Who Cares about Vegetables?
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the FDA and the USDA consider vegetables one of the primary dietary sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (non-vitamin, non-mineral nutrients derived from plants). Why? Because optimal levels of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are necessary to prevent cancer, heart disease, neurological disease, and diabetes to name only a few. In other words, those in science and medicine agree that humans need the nutrients contained in vegetables and some fruits for proper nutrition and good health. In fact, nutrient deficiencies are considered by many physicians and scientists to be one of the primary causes of disease today. Because of this, the current USDA recommendation is to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit per day.
The Sad News about Vegetables and Vitamins
YOU DO NOT EAT enough vegetables and high-nutrient fruits. How do I know this even if I don’t know you? Consider these facts:
I.) Most Americans do not achieve even the minimum 5 per day servings of produce. The current recommendations for veggie/fruit intake are 5-9 per day. A pickle, lettuce leaf, onion ring and ketchup on your burger DO NOT count as 4 servings of vegetables! Commercial fruit juice counts toward little but sugar intake because enzymes, fiber and vitamins are destroyed during processing. A side of french fries or onion rings with your burger don't constitute a serving of nutrient-dense vegetable due to their high trans fat content and the fact that nutrients are destroyed during high-heat cooking. Further, for reason stated in #2 (below), even if you DO get 5-9 legitimate servings of vegetables per day, this current recommendation is almost surely NOT enough.
II.) Commercially grown vegetables and fruits today do not contain as many nutrients as before. According to Institute of Nutrition, recent studies of more than a dozen fruits and vegetables demonstrate a decrease in the nutrient value of most, and in some cases the drop is drastic. For instance, the Vitamin A content in apples has dropped from 90 mg to 53mg. Vitamin C in sweet peppers has decreased from 128mg to 89mg. This is why many at the NAS think the 5-9 servings recommendation should be doubled. (Math help: this updated recommendation would equal 10-18 servings per day of vegetables and fruits).
III.) Storing and/or cooking destroy many nutrients, rendering them "less" than a serving of the recommended daily dose.
Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients ("plant nutrients" including bioflavonoids, carotenoids, proanthocyanidins, etc.) are crucial to good health, yet even a "good" Standard American Diet (SAD) does not contain enough of these nutrients to meet the proven standards that prevent disease. Further, surveys show that most Americans do not obtain the lower recommendation of 5 servings per day, let alone the upper recommendation of 9 servings per day. Nutritional Supplementation appears both valuable and necessary in achieving the proven health-protective doses of nutrients.
Dr. Myatt's Comment:
While the USDA, FDA and commercial agri-business assure us that vegetables and fruits are as healthy as ever, the USDA's own records show a plummeting level of nutrients since the 1960's. All the while, medical science keeps stacking up new studies that demonstrate the disease-preventing effects of optimal doses of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Still, you'll read propaganda that assures you that you don’t need supplements because you can obtain everything you need from "a good diet." (And you probably could get everything you need from diet IF you ate 5-9 servings of produce that was home-grown and eaten fresh, meat that was grass-fed without antibiotics and hormones, and dairy from same). But that's not the reality of the American diet. Perhaps that is why, in spite spending more money on healthcare than any country in the world, the US ranks only 24th in life expectancy.
All unsupported claims to the contrary, nutritional supplementation with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients appears to be the safest, surest and least expensive way to stay healthy and reverse disease.
Here is what I personally take and recommend to others to help achieve optimal daily nutrition:
Maxi Multi multi vitamin, mineral and trace mineral supplement with optimal does of nutrients (the levels shown in studies to prevent disease), not minimal doses.
Maxi Greens high potency multiple green food supplement in capsules
Greens First , a powdered, great-tasting green food supplement that has the equivalent of 10 servings of veggies in one refreshing drink. (The taste is so good you can even get kids to take it)!
And here's a handy tip from Wellness Club member JoAnne, who dries out her empty water bottles, adds a serving of GreensFirst and takes the bottles to work. For a quick pick-me-up, she just adds water and shakes!
5 a day guide
Veggies w/out Vitamins
Drop in minerals concerns organic community
Organic consumer association
New Study Shows Decreasing Nutrient Value of Certain Fruits and Vegetables – An Increasing Need for Multivitamin and Mineral Complex Supplements
Population Life Expectancy