Nutrient Decline in Iceberg Lettuce


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Scientists have measured the nutrition in iceberg lettuce, along with many other foods, for over a century but their measurements became more refined in the 1950s allowing them to compare nutrients over time. In general, there has been a disturbing trend toward lower nutritional content, though iceberg lettuce shows mixed results. Notice for iceberg lettuce that riboflavin declined by 50% and vitamin C by 49%. However, both iron and calcium increased. None of these results specific to iceberg lettuce are statistically significant, but there is a more general trend toward nutrient decline. To read more about the change in nutrition in garden crops and what you can do about it, check out this article on our site.

Iceberg Lettuce: Nutrient Change Data

In the table presented here we provide the nutritional content of iceberg lettuce from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for iceberg lettuce are adjusted for water content so that the 1999 and 1950 values have comparable dry matter. These nutrient measures are based on a very small number of data points and none of the individual differences are statistically different from one another, but all together, they suggest a decline in nutrient content in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Iceberg Lettuce

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
11.9
12
Protein
.95
1.01
Fat
.16
.19
Carbohydrates
2.3
2.1
Ash
.71
.48
Calcium
17.39
19
Phosphorus
19.76
20
Iron
.4
.5
Vitamin A
426.81
330
Thiamin
.03
.046
Riboflavin
.06
.03
Niacin
.16
.19
Vitamin C
6.32
3.9

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The figures used to present differences in nutrition in garden produce here are Traditional Foods, including change in iceberg lettuce, can be redistributed for noncommercial use with a link to this iceberg lettuce page or to the our page that describes the data project here.

Data Source

The historical measures on the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables has been archived and made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was also examined by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose research we describe on this website. We adjusted the 1950 iceberg lettuce nutritional content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be comparable, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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