by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Fruits-and-vegetables

Apr 1 2009

Fruits and vegetables: eat less, pay more

Nutritionists are always telling everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables.  You might think this would be harder to do when the economy goes bad, and you would be right.  The United Fresh Research and Education Foundation, an arm of the produce industry, keeps track of such things.  Its latest report makes interesting, if depressing, reading.  People bought about 3% less produce in 2008 than they did in 2007, but paid about 2% more for that smaller amount.  No wonder people are complaining that they can’t afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.  Don’t we need to do something about this?

Mar 11 2009

EWG’s guide to pesticides on produce

The Environmental Working Group has just issued its guide to coping with pesticides on fresh fruits and vegetables.  It’s handy shopping card identifies the Dirty Dozen (highest in pesticides) and the Clean Fifteen (lowest).  Organics, it says, are still the best choices!

And here’s how they did the study.

Jan 12 2009

USDA: subsidizing F&V won’t do much good

 The USDA has a new report out analyzing the effects of a 10% subsidy on fruits and vegetables.  This, its economists say, would increase consumption a little, but not enough to meet recommendations and the cost would be hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  Does this mean that lowering the cost of F&V isn’t worth the trouble?  Why am I not convinced by this argument?

Apr 26 2008

Graham Kerr’s one-minute recipes

I’ve just discovered Graham Kerr’s 60-second videos on how to prepare and cook dozens of different kinds of fruits and vegetables, from apples to zucchini. Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet of prehistoric television, is a strong proponent of healthy eating and does everything he can to make it a pleasure to take care of your health.  The videos are a hoot. And the recipes look yummy.

Mar 19 2008

Food systems in a spinach basket

Thanks to Jonathan Latham of the Bioscience Resource Project for advice to check out the web pages of Professor Phil Howard at Michigan State University. Professor Howard, who I do not know but can’t wait to meet, has put together some terrific cartoons of how food systems work. Examples: who owns what in organic foods and the chain of distribution of spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 in 2006. This last is especially useful, given the sharp increase in foodborne illnesses due to leafy greens. I fully intend to plagiarize.

Jan 7 2008

Bananas are low fat!

Thanks to Kerry Trueman for sharp eyed reading of the latest in banana advertising (do bananas need this?). Check the sticker she found on a Chiquita banana. Aren’t you happy to know this? Haven’t you been buying enough bananas lately? Here it is:

Here it is:

Dec 31 2007

Nutrient composition: philosophy

This question comes from Sheila: “Recently, I was served a plate of “salad” that consisted entirely of several varieties of vegetable sprouts and grain sprouts, dressed with a fresh herb dressing. It was delicious. The salad maker stated this small plate of sprouts held the nutrient content of several cups of fresh whole vegetables, stated the nutrients are quite concentrated in the sprouts. Is this true? The only “literature” I can find on this subject is from seed companies who obviously have a vested interest in selling the seeds for the sprouts. I would appreciate knowing the true comparison of nutrient content. Thank you.”

Food composition: My immediate question is “which nutrients?” Sprouts have so much water that their nutrient content cannot possibly equal that of vegetables with less water. But certain antioxidants–sulforaphane, for example–are more concentrated in sprouts than in adult plants. Ordinarily, questions about food composition are easy to answer. Look up the food on the USDA’s food composition data base. But I can’t find anything about sprouts on the USDA site. A Google search turned up bean sprouts on a data base from the Australia and New Zealand food standards agency. Sprouts are 93% water, and 100 grams contain 9 mg calcium, 129 mg potassium, and 10 mg vitamin C. In contrast, broccoli (according to USDA) is 89% water, and has 47 mg calcium, 316 mg potassium, and 89 mg vitamin C. So broccoli beats sprouts for those particular nutrients. Sprouts are fine to eat and the small amounts of nutrients they contain are useful. So enjoy them! And happy new year!

Nov 19 2007

The (silly) battle of the antioxidants

Which fruit has the most antioxidants? The latest report says blueberries, followed by cranberries, apples, red grapes, and finally green grapes. What? Pomegranates don’t even make the top five? In this case, who knows? The investigators were testing a new assay method and those were the only fruits they examined. Never mind. It doesn’t matter. A fundamental principle of nutrition is variety. In this case, variety means that it’s good to eat different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Each contains its own unique complement of antioxidants and other nutrients and if you eat a variety of foods, you are likely to get all the ones you need and not overdo on any.