Nutrient Decline in Watermelon


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Food scientists have collected data on the nutrient content of food for decades and have noticed a disturbing trend: a decline in the nutritional components of small garden produce since the 1950s. Watermelon, for instance, showed a 60% decline in riboflavin, 30% in phosphorus, and 19% in iron. It has shown an increase in vitamin C. Though these differences in watermelon are not statistically significant, the more general trend toward decline is. Read more about the trend and what you can do: nutrient decline in garden crops.

Change in Nutrients for Watermelon

In the table provided here we provide the nutrient content of watermelon from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 measures for watermelon are adjusted for water content so that the 1999 and 1950 measures have similar content of dry matter. These measures are based on just a few data points and not one of the apparent differences are statistically different from one another, however all together, they suggest that nutrient values have decreased in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Watermelon

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
30.1
32
Protein
.54
.62
Fat
.21
.43
Carbohydrates
7.4
7.2
Ash
.32
.26
Calcium
7.52
8
Phosphorus
12.9
9
Iron
.21
.17
Vitamin A
634.06
366
Thiamin
.05
.08
Riboflavin
.05
.02
Niacin
.21
.2
Vitamin C
6.45
9.6

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The figures used to display differences in nutrition in garden produce on the Traditional Foods site, including change in watermelon, can be reposted for noncommercial use with a link to this specific page or to the article about nutrient decline : nutrient decline in garden crops.

Nutrient Data Source

The historical values on the nutritional content of garden crops has been archived and made available by the USDA. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose analyses we describe on this site. Following the lead of the researchers, we adjusted the 1950 watermelon nutrient measures so that the 1950 and 1999 food samples had the same water content.

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