Nutrient Decline in Sweet Potato


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Since the 1950s, food scientists have measured the nutritional content of food and have seen a tendency for nutrients to decline. The sweet potato actually showed an increase in riboflavin and a decline in phosphorus and calcium, though these results are not statistically different from zero. The larger trend toward decline is statistically significant. To learn more about the decline and what you can do, read our article on nutrient decline in garden crops.

Sweet Potato: Change in Nutrient Data

In the table provided below we present the nutritional content of sweet potato from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for sweet potato are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These nutrient indicators are based on a small number of data points and not one of the apparent individual changes are statistically significant, even so, as a group, they suggest a decline in nutrient content in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Sweet Potato

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
106
105
Protein
1.55
1.65
Fat
.6
.3
Carbohydrates
24.1
24.3
Ash
.95
.95
Calcium
25.87
22
Phosphorus
42.25
28
Iron
.6
.59
Vitamin A
6639.11
20063
Thiamin
.08
.066
Riboflavin
.04
.147
Niacin
.52
.67
Vitamin C
18.97
22.7

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The figures used to present differences in nutrients in garden produce here are Traditional Foods, including change in sweet potato, can be reposted and redistributed for noncommercial use with a link back to this particular page or to the our page that presents the data project : nutrient decline in garden crops.

Data Source

The historical measures on the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables has been published and distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was also examined by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose work we describe on this site. We adjusted the 1950 sweet potato nutritional content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be the same, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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2 Responses to Nutrient Decline in Sweet Potato
  1. It is curious how it could have that much increase in the riboflavin content. It might be possible that the growing conditions of the crop being compared with are different. Perhaps there are plentiful other factors that may have affected it for all we know.

  2. A great article that showcases the change in conditions. The vitamin A content has really gone through the roof!

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