Editor's Note: This POLITICO article reports about research that suggests plants are making more sugars as CO2 levels rise, injecting significant carbohydrates into the biosphere and diluting other nutrients in food. It is relatively well-known that everything from protein to calcium, iron and vitamin C has declined significantly across most garden crops since 1950. However, when POLITICO contacted top nutrition experts about the growing body of research that suggests rising CO2 levels are a contributing factor, they were almost universally perplexed and asked to see the research.

September 13, 2017

The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.

In the outside world, the problem isn't that plants are suddenly getting more light: It's that for years, they've been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae-junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack-then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat? ...

In agricultural research, it's been understood for some time that many of our most important foods have been getting less nutritious. Measurements of fruits and vegetables show that their minerals, vitamin and protein content has measurably dropped over the past 50 to 70 years. Researchers have generally assumed the reason is fairly straightforward: We've been breeding and choosing crops for higher yields, rather than nutrition, and higher-yielding crops-whether broccoli, tomatoes, or wheat-tend to be less nutrient-packed.

For more news from AHPA, follow us on social media: 

Manage your AHPA email subscriptions
Already subscribed? Manage your alerts by clicking on the "Update Profile" link below.