Agroscope FAW Waedenswil, Swiss Federal Research Station for Fruit-Growing, Viticulture and Horticulture, CH-8820 Waedenswil

Were fruits more nutritious in former times?

The headline “fruits and vegetables diminished in their nutritional quality” appeared in recent years in the media. The claimed quality loss was supposedly related to changes in agricultural practice. The comparison of contents of nine minerals and eleven vitamins of the five most important locally produced fruits as published in three different food composition databases suggested that hardly any changes occurred during the last 20 to 40 years. An apparent significant reduction was indicated for magnesium (-3%) and increases were found for folic acid (168%) as well as vitamin C (19%). However, these changes may be related to anomalies of sampling or analyses. Fruit production has undergone many changes in the last four to five decades. Though no detrimental effects on nutritional quality of fruits could be deduced. In modern diet fruits continue to provide adequate quantities of minerals and vitamins as in the past.

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