Nutrient Decline in Carrots


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Since 1950, carrots have shown a decline in iron and calcium (about 40% and 33% respectively), but they have shown a 50% increase in riboflavin. Though these changes are not statistically significant, there is a larger trend toward nutrient decline — read more here. The most compelling theory for the decline is hybridization of vegetables — as vegetables and fruit are bred to be better keepers or transported, other good qualities (such as nutrition) are sacrified. Carrots may be an exception — the market wants carrots dark orange. Darker carrots contain more riboflavin.

Change in Nutrients for Carrots

In the table below we present the nutritional content of carrots from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 measures for carrots are adjusted for water content so that the 1999 and 1950 data points have similar content of dry matter. These nutrient indicators are based on just a few data points and none of the individual differences are statistically significant, but as a group, they suggest that nutrients have declined in smaller garden crops.

Nutrient Change In Carrots

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
43.5
43
Protein
1.24
1.02
Fat
.31
.19
Carbohydrates
9.6
10.1
Ash
1.03
.87
Calcium
40.36
27
Phosphorus
38.29
44
Iron
.83
.5
Vitamin A
12416.95
28129
Thiamin
.06
.097
Riboflavin
.06
.09
Niacin
.52
.93
Vitamin C
9.3

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The graphs used to display differences in nutritional content of garden crops here on the Traditional Foods website, including change in carrots, can be reposted for noncommercial use with a link to this particular page or to our more general article here.

Data Source

The historical data on the nutrient content of garden crops has been collected and distributed by the USDA. It was also examined by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose research we describe on this website. Following the lead of the researchers, we adjusted the 1950 carrots nutrient values so that the 1950 and 1999 food samples had the same water content.

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  5. Nutrient Decline in Rhubarb

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