Is Our Food Becoming Less Nutritious?

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2 år sedan

The nutrient content of food is declining. Is it because of soil depletion, selective breeding, or... something else?
Watch my new documentary, VITAMANIA:
I came across this story as I was making the film Vitamania. When you ask sellers of vitamins why you should take vitamin supplements even if you eat a healthy diet, they will say because our food doesn't contain all the nutrients it once did. This is supposedly due to soil depletion, cold storage, food ripening off the vine, and global transport of out-of-season foods. And to an extent this is true. Foods contain the greatest amount of nutrients if they are eaten soon after they are harvested. An unexpected source of nutrient decline is the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It causes plants to grow faster and bulk up on carbs but at the expense of other nutrients, so in percentage terms the amount of nutrients are actually declining. For now this decline is modest so supplementing with vitamin pills is probably unnecessary for most people with a healthy diet but it may be a concern in future.
Thanks to Kate Pappas & Chris Kamen for writing, producing and filming this video with me
Edited by Lucy McCallum
Sound mix by Wayne Hyett
Fact Checking by Calvin Lee and Claire Smith
Thanks to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and Glenn Fitzgerald from the University of Melbourne & Agriculture Victoria
Further Reading:

#41337 5 dagar sedan
He is so wrong about farming practices and misinformed about fert practices. Really shows his ignorance, but only obvious to experts.
ishrak hasan
ishrak hasan 8 dagar sedan
fast food affect in trees
Sahaj Manandhar
Sahaj Manandhar 8 dagar sedan
we should all be aware of this crucial facts
Noname Namelost
Noname Namelost 8 dagar sedan
Nature is not developed to tolerate artificial CO2 the only way to reduce CO2 emission naturally is to control CO2 producers.....which is fauna.(us)......So Increase if CO2 result in Surge of carbohydrates and decline of other essential nutrients per average serving..resulting negatively causing reduction of population of animals....which will help gain CO2 balance.....though it wouldn't happen due to artificial CO2 emission in mass scale corresponding to CO2 sinks.... :(
Ahmed ,
Ahmed , 9 dagar sedan
For a fruit that is grown 100% naturally, go to Lebanon, Israel, and Syria. You can’t comprehend unless you go there and experience it!
Porfirio Ruth
Porfirio Ruth 10 dagar sedan
Maybe if we start calling it "food change" instead of "climate change" more people would worry?
Hemant 16 dagar sedan
Flawed information!
fluffigverbimmelt 16 dagar sedan
0:07 Iceberg lettuce is probably a bad example here. Created just recently and always void of nutrients, lel
fluffigverbimmelt 16 dagar sedan
2:54 Thats also pretty silly: Shoul we lack protein in the future, "fruits and vegetable" is not the solution. But either protein-rich animal produce or especially protein-rich veg. Fruits are pointless and so is veg in general. But since we currently are easily getting our recommended daily intake of protein (not bodybuilding levels of course), I really cannot imagine this will be a thing. Not before we face other nutrient issues, anyway.
Top Nep
Top Nep 17 dagar sedan
Never cared about nutrition and never felt any effect. Live a decent life and you're good.
David Edward Garber
David Edward Garber 18 dagar sedan
If I understand correctly, most fertilizer only replenishes a select group of vital nutrients. The rest aren't replenished by it.
michael bailey
michael bailey 19 dagar sedan
You are wrong sir, farmers have not, in general, been replacing the nutrients drawn from the soil. Adding nitrogen, potassium and sodium, the main ingredients of commercial fertilizer, doesn't begin to maintain a healthy soil over decades of use. I remember back in the 1960s old farmers claiming they could not raise as many hogs on a acre of corn as they once had, even with hybrid varieties. In 1975 a professor of agronomy at University of Wisconsin told his class it was cheaper and more efficient to dump their dairy manure into a river and use commercial NPK fertilizer instead. That was the heart of the soil he wanted dumped in the river. The chairman of the agronomy department also had such antediluvian ideas, notably , "We never should have banned DDT." It would be wrong as well to assume that any great progress has been made since those days, there hasn't been and won't be any as long as a few mega-corporations controls our entire agricultural system from top to bottom. We aren't breeding nutrition out of our food, we are draining the source of nutrition out of our soils. I'm sorry Vertasium, I'm a subscriber, but I'm afraid you don't know enough about agriculture to be able to see past the glittering surface of things. Albert Howard, for instance, demonstrated meticulously and irrefutably that impoverished soils lead to impoverished crops and the distressed health of animals grown off those crops. His ideas are not considered au courant by big agribusiness.
ThePsychocybe 19 dagar sedan
That's messed up. I'm never eating food again.
you2tooyou2too 19 dagar sedan
re 1:45 "wouldn't grow if ..." It seems obvious (to me), that farmers generally do only what is needed to add weight or taste appeal(sweetness) to the produce. Nutrient value cannot be measured by the consumer, so there is no such nutrition pressure on the farmers, only weight & appearance. One old trick (of many) is to salt the hay before taking cattle to market so they will drink more water for weigh-in. (... see 5:22) re 3:00 "Weeds ..." FWIW: Many wild plants (known usually as weeds) are remarkably nutritious, but not easily marketable for various reasons, so the food industry ignores them, even actively disparages them (per USDA), in favor of their own commercial products.
doublem 20 dagar sedan
A cobbler should stick to his last
Victor Rada
Victor Rada 20 dagar sedan
The planet is **greener** due to rising CO2 levels??? that sounds horrible!
FreymanArt 20 dagar sedan
6:47 There's NO WAY they can argue this women _isn't_ using a cell phone like they did in this video:
morgan kempo
morgan kempo 23 dagar sedan
“Praw-duce” ? Lol
Through the Quantum
Through the Quantum 25 dagar sedan
Private Name
Private Name 28 dagar sedan
If lower protein levels made people fat, then why, in the US, where we have the highest protein intakes anywhere, are we also the fattest? You seem to be suspending your logic when it comes to food.
Private Name
Private Name 28 dagar sedan
"We're still getting big plants. And they wouldn't grow that well if they didnt have the nutrients they need". Unless we used growth hormones like miracle grow, or pesticides so the plants could survive with weaker defenses, or if we genetically modified (or selectively bred) the crops to survive off less and less nutrients over the years, or genetically modified them to grow bigger to fight them wanting to grow smaller. And we do all four.
Jared 29 dagar sedan
No joke I just got a mcdonald's ad on this video
EggAndCheese Soda
EggAndCheese Soda 29 dagar sedan
flobbie 29 dagar sedan
Krystian Pierkiel
Krystian Pierkiel Månad sedan
just eat more food
Yugvir Jadeja
Yugvir Jadeja Månad sedan
But what if we started growing crops in graveyards?
Irfan __s
Irfan __s Månad sedan
so nutrition is not decreased but size by volume increased. so we had to eat more. like gravity don't pull but space push. so the title has to change.
DiabloMinero Månad sedan
Fat makes you feel full too. Eating a stick of butter would be very hard.
DerArty Månad sedan
I thought about that
Sai Ayyappa
Sai Ayyappa Månad sedan
so increase in carbs dilute the nutrition, makes use obese hahaha....
Kakashi Arun
Kakashi Arun Månad sedan
Beautiful information, thanks for sharing 💙
Avenger Månad sedan
This explains gigantism for me in prehistoric times. Fewer nutrients per plant so you have to eat a lot of plants to get the right nutrients. In the times of dinosaurs, there was a lot more CO2 in the air.
r2dxhate Månad sedan
The problem is Fungus. We're destroying the fungal growths that reach deep into the ground. It's like how we can't get honey without bees, the plants cant get the right nutrients without the rest of the ecosystem working in harmony.
Bignachos Månad sedan
GMO food is to blame and people like bill gates. Organic produce grown out of fertile soil with no glyphosate and other chemicals
FrostDirt 29 dagar sedan
He literally said that it's atmosphere and not gene (selective breeding)
Juan Blanco
Juan Blanco Månad sedan
As a farmer, I think it may be the difference between artificial vs organic fertilizers..for corn, assuming it consists in part as the quality of nutrients available in the soil, this would be the difference between a plant absorbing a decomposed legume (clover) or tuber (tillage radish) and a plant dependent on synthetic anhydrous ammonia and diammonium phosphate
Juan Blanco
Juan Blanco Månad sedan
And based on a test plot comparison, plants could then be selectively bred based on an initial lab test that could prove a difference
Aimal Khan
Aimal Khan Månad sedan
SomeFrenchGuy Månad sedan
Awesome episode ! The background music is really a good choice, what's its name ?! 😁
Paweł Wójcicki
Paweł Wójcicki Månad sedan
So conclusion is: reducing CO2 level will lead to food shortage problem? If during 100 years CO2 content increase by 50% causing crops size increase for 50% (that's why protein content decrease for 30%). So once we will decrease CO2 content to the level from 100 100 years ago, our crops also become smaller for 30%. Hmm. Funny isn't it. The question is what is more dangerous for the agriculture. Climate change by increase CO2 content or Crops size reduce by decrease CO2 content?
matthew spence
matthew spence Månad sedan
I like your thumbnail
Qm1995 Månad sedan
Eat more cow
Jackson Barry
Jackson Barry Månad sedan
Chicken KFC
Chicken KFC Månad sedan
Veritasium: if you eat more you’ll be fatter because less protein Bodybuilder : am I a joke to you ??
RASELMX Månad sedan
i heard weeds
Steph M
Steph M Månad sedan
6:09 this is exactly WRONG, studies on people having a so called « well balanced diet » have shown that ALL of them had deficiencies.
ProHortiCo Månad sedan
Oh wow! As a horticulturist who learned about co2 injection in greenhouses - the only thing we studied was the increased growth rate that could achieved... I truly wish this information was available then!
broncokonco Månad sedan
I’d like to see someone look at whether it’s actually possible to get all the nutrients our bodies need in one day without going over 2000 calories, and if so, what foods would they be.
John Månad sedan
You know if people would just stop eating fast food and garbage every day then they wouldn't be fat. Lol I gave up soda and fast food a couple years ago, immediately pretty much stopped gaining weight and started losing without even trying. It's honestly ridiculous how much effort goes into blaming other things versus taking personal responsibility. And I have no idea why anyone's trying to get protein from a plant.... That's what meat is for
SECRETary DokTOUR Reden 143
SECRETary DokTOUR Reden 143 Månad sedan
When illustrations help you arrived in a proper explanation.. that's really matter to me... Anyway, not all Delicious are nutritious and not all nutritious are delicious... @dokTOUR Reden 143.
Vinna 2k
Vinna 2k Månad sedan
Egoistic vs altruism
P D S Månad sedan
It doesn't really help that there were also like 200 atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in the US around the 1950s.
Hong Kong Phooey
Hong Kong Phooey Månad sedan
Why no mention of GMO's?
Donbros Månad sedan
I love those old videos voice
Suzan Månad sedan
So basically our plants are getting obese from eating too much CO2?
ice cream
ice cream Månad sedan
1 more reason we shouldn't use oil
VALLEY Månad sedan
what if crops just grow ripe in a shorter time, meaning we harvest them earlier in they're life so they haven't been able to obtain as many nutrients before we harvest them?
David Doch
David Doch Månad sedan
In the 90s environmentalists were screaming that our economy was drenching our world in estrogen mimicking chemicals. The fish, gators, turtles are being found to have both gentials, undecended testicles and the general feminization of the entire male population. We now see this has entered the world of Human Culture. The Feminization is ongoing like never before. Endocrine disruptors affect everything. Emotions, Mentality, behaviour. Why doesn't anybody want to state the connection. All the XenoEstrogen sprayed acrosee the world since 1950 has caused a Massive Feminization of Males and Epidemic levels of infertility and sperm deformation.
Kenneth Mionnet
Kenneth Mionnet Månad sedan
I mean, it's cute that you were filming at the Boatbuilder's Yard in Melbourne... but I'm in Melbourne and I can't find Vitamania on Prime Video or Apple TV. I don't have access to Microsoft or Google (because I'm a stupid Apple fanboy... oof, I'm wasted my life).
Michael cheng
Michael cheng Månad sedan
The answer is that the food is genetically modified and some nutrition is removed in that process
Douglas Triana
Douglas Triana Månad sedan
How can you get this documental in Finland?
Marc Poirier
Marc Poirier Månad sedan
Then it would make sense to increase proteins intake from animal products.
TinkerDuck137 2 månader sedan
01:35 so basically: It's got electrolytes!
sobreaver 2 månader sedan
Veritasium is a constant of goodnesss in this cold universe ;) Thank YOU !
Elvis Björk
Elvis Björk 2 månader sedan
6:35 We may have to eat more food, more carbohydrates, and more fats to achieve the same level of protein. What are you talking about? Elaborate, what do you mean?
it just doesn't matter
it just doesn't matter Månad sedan
How about eating more protein rich foods, duh. I've seen videos that say fats are what gives us satiation. How about protein AND fats give us satiation (: He did NOT say that the amount of protein declined in a given plant, only the ratio between protein and carbs in a given plant due to size increases. CO2 levels were MUCH greater in the ancient past and there is a dirth of CO2 currently (as compared to the past). Rising CO2 means faster growing/and larger trees = MORE oxygen in the atmosphere = good. IMO, pollution and political corruption are of greater concern to the planet's health than the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, I mean "climate change".
altj 2 månader sedan
Human Kind kills the Planet ... It's fair that the planet tries to kill the human, Hehehe ... Either through food or viruses ... Good job Earth 😉🌱
hey pro
hey pro 2 månader sedan
good for skinny people
Pavel Michalek
Pavel Michalek 2 månader sedan
Well I think (and I'm not alone) that obesity epidemic in US is caused by FDA's food pyramid and guidelines. You can check the data how many people was obese before and how the numbers started to ascend after. Thinking that fat makes you fat is ridiculous. On another hand polysaccharides and sugars are causing inflammation. Especially high fructose syrup is really bad.
De Vinois Mathieu
De Vinois Mathieu 2 månader sedan
Claiming climate change in terms of less nutritious food for obesity just sound as the next big excuse for fat people. Sorry. But in reality it is just eating to much junk food and making not enough daily workout in compensation for snacks and food. - no I am not talking if about people taking antibiotics ore other severe medical problems. I am talking about most people who just have a very unhealthy lifestyle.
James McGril
James McGril 2 månader sedan
Great video and subject. However, I think it's worth mentioning, since you mentioned protein levels quite a bit, that less protein might actually be healthier for humans. Would love to see you do a show on the "Blue Zones" and how that research shows higher protein levels lead to shorter life spans. Great stuff and love how it's always backed by science!
aqeel ahmed
aqeel ahmed 3 månader sedan
His background music is exceptional..., especially in 3:23, can i please know the music that was in there?? i would really appreciate that :)
NATURAL GAMER 3 månader sedan
my Father always tells me you are a hybrid product
Cmace 3 månader sedan
3:45 i mean protein in the pollen does not equal protein in the grain. Im not saying it isnt happening and im sure theres correlation between the pollen and the rest of the plant but this is probably the most extreme example you found
Baltu Lielkungs Gunārs Miezis
Baltu Lielkungs Gunārs Miezis 3 månader sedan
"Is Our Food Becoming Less Nutritious?" Absolutely, and it will become worse when the atrifical meat comes in.
bogipepper 3 månader sedan
Agronomy gets shorted by slogans again.
bogipepper 3 månader sedan
Off the rails in under 2 minutes, stick to what you know.
Sam Burnes
Sam Burnes 3 månader sedan
He’s relying on evidence and forming an argument based on that.
Racer Girl
Racer Girl 3 månader sedan
I believe a small part of the cause is not returning natural plant waste back to the soil. There is so much yard waste recycling. Whenever I do hard work, I put everything back in the field... my soil is great quality because of it. I learned this technique in the 70’s after many studies were done on the matter. Crops do better when you return plant waste back to the soil. For some reason, this is all forgotten. I grew up with the best quality fruits and vegetables because of it.
RedVilkas 4 månader sedan
Why say food is becoming less nutritious when it's not? It's plant based food that's getting less nutritios, not food in general. It makes the title a bit misleading
danny obrian
danny obrian 4 månader sedan
It's a lack of insects fertilizing the ground because we have killed them all
Medical Owl
Medical Owl 4 månader sedan
I am amazed by the quality of the videos this channel produce.
José Hernández Garrido
José Hernández Garrido 4 månader sedan
En la misma bibliografía que pones, la conclusión del estudio dice que no se presentó la suficiente evidencia, hay que saber interpretar estudios chavo...
indrinita 4 månader sedan
Strange that you didn't say anything about nitrogen... That has as big an influence on nutrient content of plants as carbon, if not moreso.
Sam Burnes
Sam Burnes 3 månader sedan
We haven’t had any change in nitrogen content in the soil of the wild flowers, so it’s not a possible cause.
Michael Devine
Michael Devine 4 månader sedan
Yes it is becoming less nutritious I did not have to watch the video corporate America is very greedy let's put more salt and sugar and everything the make them want more
George Gates
George Gates 5 månader sedan
My grandfather knew 'less nutritious' way before. He told me that food had little nutrition in 1960. This is not a new phenomenon. Do you honestly think life has gotten any better, when being cheap, makes you a financial king?? The quality of life has gone down ever since. We do little, to use technology, to make life better.. But we sure use the hell out of technology to make a bigger profit!! Just google what technology has done to insecticides. When the insects finally die - Birds, dragonflies, ladybugs, cancer people, etc, .. And God forbid IF worms die - we die. Worms MAKE soil out of cellulose -> (dead plants) their poop, is called 'worm castings'. Which is new super soil.
Sam Burnes
Sam Burnes 3 månader sedan
Yes. Life has become significantly better since the 60s. Life expectancy is up, new treatments are available, vaccines have made previously deadly viruses almost non existent, we have greater access to clean food and water in most parts of the world, we have more access to information than ever before. There are a bunch of problems, but we’ve trended in the right direction.
Sanchita Golder
Sanchita Golder 5 månader sedan
someone needs to bring kimbal and elon musk on with this
itsXaver 5 månader sedan
I want to eat more! Thats amazing.
Laurean 599
Laurean 599 5 månader sedan
If we breed plants to grow more crops they will have to distribute their (fixed) nutrients on more crops, right? Grapes are known to make better wine if the plant lives in a harsh environment and can make fewer grapes, apples get better is you remove half of the blossoms. It kind of makes sense for nutrients to decrease if you breed for quantity...
Laurean 599
Laurean 599 5 månader sedan
Can a plant (or animal) adapt, so it needs less of some less important nutrients? If we breed plants to grow on our soil they might adapt to some nutrients missing, which were a lot more plentiful in the past.
CoolAsFreya 5 månader sedan
"On average...." Then proceeds to highlight sentence from the paper that says "median"
Sam Burnes
Sam Burnes 3 månader sedan
A median is a type of average used when you have outliers. A mean is also another type of average
maxmillion7007 5 månader sedan
I read an article 20 or so years ago that claimed certain modern orange breeds have almost no vitamin c. That breeding for volume and sweetness has led to the need to ADD Vitamin C to the juice. If true, this is another farming practice that should be stopped. I have also wondered how "greenhouse grown" crops get the micro nutrients and minerals needed.
Manix Burn
Manix Burn 5 månader sedan
Before petroleum assisted agriculture farmer were concern about keeping their soil fertile. It's the opposite when using mechanical work of the soil and also using fertilizer.
Bjorsa M
Bjorsa M 5 månader sedan
Human's DO NOT regulate food intake according to protein, like rodents do. You'll feel plenty full by consuming fat. (Try it if you don't believe me.) I don't know where Derek got this protein thing from but it's sadly false info.
Steeldriver 5 månader sedan
I wonder if we're hindering the cycle by mining more minerals near the surface of the planet which would otherwise dissipate into our food nutrients. Iron, salt, minerals of all kinds near the surface and therefor cheap to reach are certainly taken out of the ground in much larger quantities in the last 50 years.
H.P.M.R 5 månader sedan
Sublime quality as always. Very well done Doctor.
Pratwurscht Gulasch
Pratwurscht Gulasch 5 månader sedan
if you would have made the same video about fast food it would have gotten millions of views :D
Dan Conley
Dan Conley 5 månader sedan
I’m sorry... “praw-duce”???? Produce my dude. Produce.
kylie b.
kylie b. 5 månader sedan
@KyClassified exposed a study that took place just before the one you discussed; the decrease in minerals & vitamins of our food's nutritiontal value, which degenerated in that short time frame is substantial and hard to ignore! Check out 'How Not To Die' for full statistics and full detail.
markus lanz
markus lanz 5 månader sedan
cant you just eat meat for protein?
Sam Burnes
Sam Burnes 3 månader sedan
Animals eat plants, so I would assume they pass this deficiency on to us. But there are plenty of problems with eating meat as well.
Shubham Singh
Shubham Singh 5 månader sedan
It's worse when food is processed
Clara Brandão
Clara Brandão 6 månader sedan
I love how this thumbnail looks like a fancy portrait of a rich plant guy
Nathan Meyer
Nathan Meyer 6 månader sedan
Spooky Mulder
Spooky Mulder 6 månader sedan
Am I the only one who gets reminded of a ludacris song here? Move Bi*** get out the way..
sooooooooDark 6 månader sedan
>that moment u think fertilizer is a whole spectrum approach and will put back in all minerals 😂
Mari-Liis Alviste
Mari-Liis Alviste 6 månader sedan
Is this even a question? Like i can feel, that the food is getting more nonsense..
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