Good Food Choices

The Transformation of Our Food Supply

A. Breeding for convenience and yield, without regard to nutrition.
B. Breeding for uniformity in shape and appearance.
C. Breeding for disease resistance and the ability to grow in unfavorable terrain.
D. Breeding for ease of transport (tomatoes that are high in vitamin C don't ship well; new varieties have thick skins, less water and less vitamin C).
E. Genetic engineering, introducing "foreign genes" into foodstuffs.
F. Shrinking of the gene pool in food plants; many varieties have been lost because they did not conform to "marketability standards."

A. Intensive farming.
B. Poor crop management.
C. Erosion.
D. Commercial fertilization (loss of micro nutrients, esp. minerals) -- the result: large, nutrient poor fruits and
E. Vegetables.
F. Pesticide use.

A. Loss of nutrients due to unripe harvesting to meet marketing and transportation dictates.
B. Nutrient density increases with ripeness - losses include minerals and vitamins.
C. Feb. 20, 1996, news reports that frozen vegetables have no more nutrient content than fresh supermarket vegetables. Freezing destroys > 95% of nutrients - documentation of loss of nutrients in our food supply.

A. Year-round availability means many months of storage and concomitant loss of nutrients.
B. Fluctuations ln temperature and humidity result in nutrient losses.
C. Bruising; and microbial contamination also reduce nutrient value.

A. "Refining is a nutrient-devastating series of industrial procedures." Kellogg Report, p. 125.
B. "lndustrially workable material" is extracted from foodstuffs and, after being stripped of most nutrients, ils then sold as "refined." Ibid., p. 125
C. Refining increases shelf-life. Because refined products are nutrient poor they neither spoil nor attract pests.

One example: Refined Wheat Flour
"The milling of wheat into refined white flour removes 40% of the chromium, 86% of the manganese, 76% of the iron, 89% of the copper, 78% of the zinc and 48% of the molybdenum, all trace elements essential for life or health. Likewise, most of the bulk elements are removed from wheat: 60% of the calcium, 71% of the phosphorus, 85% of the magnesium, 77% of the potassium [and] 78% of the sodium." Dr. Henry Schroeder, Dartmouth Medical School, 1973b:152.

The loss of vitamins is equally stunning: 82% of the B1, 67% of B2, 80% of B3, 50% of B5, 83% of B6, 75% of folic acid, 80% of bilotin, and 76% of vitamin K, 50% of linoleic acid (EFA) and 98% of vitamin E. (Davis 1981). Total protein losses range from 15% to 20%, but the loss of certain essential amino acids reduces the utilizable protein by over 50%. The loss of fiber is about 85% (Davis 1981). Due to the removal of protein, fiber and minerals, white flour has about 7% more calories!

D. Enrichment is a fraud: 25 nutrients are lost during refining; only 4 are added back in.

E. Refined sugar, over the last 200 years, has become a universal staple of the diet in developed countries. "Let me point out that sugar is a new food. It didn't exist in the diet in the West until the seventeenth century. And the argument that sugar is an essential food is a lot of nonsense." Jean Mayer, A Diet for Living, 1977, p.9

RAW SUGAR is already 96% sucrose (refined sugar), 1% water and 3% residue (Yudkin, 1973:30). The residue is "the trace elements necessary for the metabolism of the sugar: 93% of the chromium, 89% of the manganese, 98% of the cobalt, 83% of the copper, 98% of the zinc and 98% of the magnesium. These essential elements are in the residue molasses, which is fed to cattle." Schroeder 1973b:152

Sugar is added to all processed foods. Industrially added sugar (mostly corn syrup) is rising twice as fast as the decline in personal use.


Includes canning, freezing, dehydrating' irradiation and home food preparation
A. Each of these processes destroys nutrients, and each nutrient is affected differently;
B. Some authorities report that canning destroys >98% of the vitamin C content; while freezing destroys >95%. Other vitamins are affected, although not as severely;
C. Food irradiation has been banned in the European Common Market due to concerns that nutrient molecules are damaged, resulting in unusual types of cancer; and
D. Micro waving food also denatures molecules. It has been demonstrated that proline (an ubiquitous amino acid) creates a carcinogen when micro waved.

Portrait of a Vegetable: The Tomato
History: Only recently a staple in the Western diet, the tomato was introduced into Europe from Peru and Mexico in the 16th Century and not widely accepted, even in Italy where it was used as a decoration (Rick 1978). At first it was believed to be poisonous (it is a member of the toxic nightshade family, along with its cousins tobacco and petunias - and belladonna and mandrake). The French regarded it an aphrodisiac, calling it pomme d'amour or love-apple. As late as 1820, the tomato was still a novelty in the US Thomas Jefferson was supposedly among the first Americans to dare eat one (Ensminger et al)

1983: 2110) and it only became popular in the late 1800s after Robert Gibbon Johnson, in front of an aghast crowd, calmly ate one on the steps of the Salem, N.J., courthouse and survived (Goodwin to Goodwin 1981).

Today: The tomato remains an anomaly: a fruit everybody treats as a vegetable, a perennial everybody plants as an annual (Rick 1978). In tonnage the tomato now ranks third of all edible crops in the country, after potatoes and oranges (Stevens 1974) and second among vegetables. California supplies 80% of the US crop. Of some 55 varieties, the most prevalent is the ultra-hardy, square type developed by the University of California at Davis for machine-picking and long-haul transport and storage (Rick 1978).

Reputation: The modern mass-produced tomato has been reviled for years as a tasteless shadow of its former self - the large, juicy-sweet beefsteak variety. Critics observe it can be dropped from a height of six feet without damage, exceeding auto-bumper standards 2-1/2 times (Kramer 1982). The industry admits it's usually picked green and sprayed with ethylene gas (a chemical it produces naturally when ripening on the vine) or with the chemical ethepon to redden it. For optimum quality and nutrient value, tomatoes must be picked only when fully ripe (Rick 1978).

Contribution to the US Diet: Of the 39 most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables, tomatoes rank first in "relative contribution to nutrition" (Stevens, 1974). Feared and uneaten a hundred years ago, the tomato is now - by sheer quantity -the #I source of vitamins and minerals in the US and one of the country's most popular fruits and vegetables, being processed into far more forms than any other.

Nutritional Value: Tomatoes rank 16th (of the 39 major fruits and vegetables) for vitamin C concentration and 11th for niacin (Stevens 1974). Although modern picking methods and breeding for toughness reduce nutritional values (Lee, Chichester 1974), to this date there has been little attempt to market a more nutritious tomato. More nutritious strains have been developed (Harris 1975b), but there is little or no demand for them (Baker 1974).

Uses: About 75% of the US crop is processed: for example, canned with preservatives, made into catsup (of which two-thirds of the calories are sugar), converted to juice crystals (through vacuum puff-drying) or powder (through foam-mat drying). This latter item, in great demand for pizza mixes and spaghetti-sauce powder, is often extended with cheaper ingredients such as beet powder, red dye, food acids, sugar, starch, gums, and powdered seed hulls (Ensminger et al. 1983: 2112). The tomato also surfaces in everything from aspic salad the night before to Bloody Marys the morning after.

Future: In 1982 two of the largest users of tomatoes, Heinz and Campbell, inaugurated gene-splicing programs designed to produce a "supertomato," one with much less water than at present. Normally, tomatoes are 95% water; in commercial canning that water is not needed while a higher solids content would be extremely profitable, if not extremely palatable ("Race" 1983).

E. Fats and oils are among the most severely affected nutrients in processing. We require essential fatty acids; they might be termed our "fat vitamins." We also require Vitamins D, E and A - all fats.

The processes used in the manufacture of foods destroys the integrity of the fat molecules, and worse, converts them into toxic forms. "The extreme heat, oxidation and other chemical interactions generated during the processing wreak havoc on oil's nutrients. Vitamins A, K, B12 and E are destroyed by the heat and oxidation (Davis 1965:41, Harris 1975a), as are elements such as chromium, manganese, cobalt, and copper. (Chromium and manganese are essential for glucose and cholesterol homeostasis and deficiencies are though to be factors in heart disease (Schroeder 1971b, Mertz 1981). As for the essential fatty acids (EFAs), they are so reactive with oxygen that, 'when oxidized, they become inactive biologically and may even be toxic' (Harris 1 975a: 1 )" Kellogg Report, p. 138

The worst stage of oil processing is "hydrogenation." This is the hardening of the oil product into solids to serve as imitation butter (margarine) or imitation lard (Crisco). Listed on labels as ''vegetable shortening or "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." The molecular structure of hydrogenated oils has been so radically disorganized that they are largely unrecognizable and unusable by the body. (Ibid, p. 138) The process creates unnatural molecules, "trans-fats'" which the body cannot recognize. When incorporated into cells membranes, trans-fats actually block the body's utilization of essential fatty acids. (Ibid, p. 139)


A. Food technology is now creating artificial fats, fat substitutes and a variety of ingredients to satisfy "palatability" and "marketability." Little or no attention is being paid to nutrient values.
B. Examples include: processed cheese food, hydrolyzed starch, Mocha Mix, Olestra.

Recent Evolution of the Orange
America's food production system today offers a wide spectrum of foods and food products:

From raw whole foods (like fresh oranges), To prepared whole foods (like peeled and separated orange slices) - To the refined (like fresh orange juice) -To the refined and lightly processed (like unsweetened frozen orange juice concentrate)-To refined, processed foods (like canned, sweetened orange juice)-To refined, highly processed food products (like canned, sweetened, artificially colored and flavored orange drink)-To fabricated products never known before (like Tang, an orange-flavored, sweetened, artificially colored powder that can be mixed with water to yield an "orange breakfast drink").

Each step in this modern evolution of an orange means the loss of more nutrients. And the later stages also mean an increasing number of synthetic additives.

Everybody knows what an orange is. But what - really - is a powdered and reconstituted "orange breakfast drink"?

To show the difference complete enrichment would make, Williams put one group of lab rats on standard supermarket "enriched" bread and another on bread that had been supplemented on the basis of current nutritional knowledge. The results?

"After 90 days on the commercial bread diet about two-thirds of the animals were dead of malnutrition and the survivors were severely stunted, whereas practically all the animals on the improved bread were alive and growing."

Roger Williams (ts73b: 317), "Should the Science- based Food Industry be Expected to Advance?"

The Rev. Sylvester Graham was a pioneer in the struggle against refined white flour. As early as 1825 he foresaw the spread of debased flour throughout the nation's diet. To counter the argument that only refined flour baked well and to popularize a return to whole-grain baked goods, he invented his unsifted, coarsely ground whole-wheat "gra-ham" flour and the cracker' made with it.

Today, American children love Graham crackers. Sadly, the modern version has only one thing in common with Graham's ideal - his name and a pinch of graham flour. The product is all he despised: refined processed, and sugar-loaded. Nabisco's "Honey Graham Crackers," for instance, consist of (in descending order):

"Enriched" white Flour, sugar, lard or hydrogenated oil, graham flour, honey, corn sweetener, salt, sodium bicarbonate, and artificial flavor."

Made principally of the refined flour, Graham crusaded against, these crackers that fly his name also contain more sugar than graham flour (or honey), along with processed oils, artificial flavor, and two additional sweeteners. (three separate sweeteners, one fears, because otherwise sugar as a whole would be the leading component.)

In fairness to Rev. Graham, shouldn't the name be changed to what they really are Depleted-Flour Sugar Crackers (with Additives)?

"People who eat brown rice and whole wheat bread are called food faddists, while children who gobble Fruity Pebbles and Sir Grapefellow are considered normal, red-blooded Ameri-cans. " Opening of Michael Jacobson's Nutrition Scoreboard (1975).

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