Nutrient Decline in Winter Squash


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For over a century food scientists at the USDA have cataloged data on the nutrient content of food. Since the 1950s, they have noticed a decline in nutritional content. Winter squash data suggests a decline in riboflavin and an increase in calcium and vitamin C. Though these winter squash results are not statistically significant, the more general tendency toward nutritional decline is. To read more about the trend, check out our article on nutrient decline in garden crops.

Nutrient Change for Winter Squash

In the table below we include the nutritional content of winter squash from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 measures for winter squash are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These measures are based on a very small number of data points and not one of the apparent differences are statistically different, however taken together, they suggest a decline in nutrient content in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Winter Squash

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
37.6
37
Protein
1.48
1.45
Fat
.3
.23
Carbohydrates
8.7
8.8
Ash
.79
.8
Calcium
18.8
31
Phosphorus
27.71
32
Iron
.59
.58
Vitamin A
4897.89
4060
Thiamin
.05
.097
Riboflavin
.12
.027
Niacin
.49
.8
Vitamin C
7.92
12.3

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The graphs used to display changes in nutrients in garden produce on the Traditional Foods site, including change in winter squash, can be posted for noncommercial use with a link back to this particular page or to the our page that discusses the data project here: nutrient decline.

Nutrient Data Source

The historical measures on the nutritional content of food has been published and made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose research we describe on this website. We adjusted the 1950 winter squash nutrient 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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