Food just isn’t what it used to be

Pamela Egan Practical Practitioner


By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE



Food just isn’t what it used to be



Today, our food has fewer nutrients and is more chemically contaminated, than in the past. No wonder organic foods are growing in popularity.

Fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients from the moment they are picked, then stored, then shipped, and then stored again-possibly for weeks or months. After we buy them, we store them some more. Then we may cook them, or at least cut or slice them. Or a food may be processed before we buy it. Each of these steps causes further nutrient loss.

Most people aren’t aware that a surprising amount of the total nutrient content in many foods exists in a form that is not bio-available, meaning that our bodies can’t absorb and use it. About 40% of the vitamin C that is left in fresh-squeezed orange juice is biologically inactive.

Next, we must consider how the heat, light, water, and chemicals used to process foods further deplete their nutrients. Blanching, a process that vegetables undergo before they are canned or frozen, can destroy up to 60% of the vitamin C content, 40% of the riboflavin, and 30% of the thiamin. The sterilization process used to can foods further destroys vitamins.

An even greater injustice is the milling of grains. When wheat is processed into white four, up to 40% of the vitamin C, and a high percent of various B vitamins are depleted. In addition, many minerals are lost including 59% magnesium and 72 % zinc. All in all an apparent 26 essential nutrients are removed. The food industry than puts back a few cents’ worth of iron, calcium, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin- and calls its bread enriched!

Although overt vitamin deficiency; evidenced by conditions such as scurvy, is rare in the United States, cancer, and heart disease are not. And study after study has linked the growing incidence of such disorders with diets that are typically too high in complex carbohydrates and fat and too low in the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health.

We have now reached that critical mass of evidence that is too large for the medical establishment to ignore. More and more respected physicians and scientists from world-famous medical institutions are supporting the addition of vitamin and mineral supplements to a healthy overall lifestyle.

According to an article June 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association, a large proportion of the general population has less-than-optimal intakes of a number of vitamins, putting them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

So shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, avoid processed foods, & take a good quality vitamin & mineral supplement plus an Omega 3 fatty acids like Fish Oil.

Pamela Egan, FNP, CDE is a board certified Nurse Practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator, & Clinical Specialist in Mental Health. She can be reached at 985-845-4111 or > Health Articles > Nutrition