Dr. Mark Hyman interviews Dan Kittridge of Real Food Campaign about the Nutrient Density Decline as the Source of Malnutrition and Disease.
Put on your hiking shoes listen to our latest favorite podcast interview.
Dan Kittridge has been farming organically for over 30 years. In this conversation, he talks to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD about how the increase in malnutrition and disease in industrialized countries is linked to the decline in nutrient density of our food.
And, if you grow your food in symbiosis with nature, not only does it taste better, but you do not need to regularly apply pesticides.
In addition, Kittridge explains his nonprofit’s work to develop a spectrometer that consumers can use to measure nutrient density in fruit and vegetables before they buy them.
Why We Love This
We love his approach–empowering consumers with transparency on how their food is grown and its healthfulness. Armed with that information, we can all advocate for better food and higher nutrient density through our everyday purchasing choices. Better still, we can use the information to reach out to companies we love and ask them to do better.
At ZEGO, we look to pesticide and heavy metal testing because of their own inherent value, of course. But we also look to it as a proxy for nutrient density. Kittridge flips this. His primary goal is to create more nutrient-dense food. And he asserts that foods grown in symbiosis with nature have a natural resistance to insects and invading plants. In turn, this means farmers will not need to use industrial chemicals on the crops.
Organic Foods Have Higher Phenol Nutrient Density
Meta analysis have not shown consistent and conclusive evidence that organic produce has higher vitamin content than conventional. But in 2014 scientists Baranski et al published a meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed studies shows strong evidence that antioxidants are significantly higher in organic food than in conventional (see list below). And, as Kittridge and Hyman discuss in the podcast, these compounds are most likely the plant’s flavor drivers.
- Phenolic acids – 19% higher in organic food
- Flavanones – 69% higher in organic food
- Stilbenes = 28% higher in organic food
- Flavones – 26% higher in organic food
- Flavonols – 50% higher in organic food
- Anthocyanins – 51% higher in organic food
Also of note, the same analysis revealed that cadmium is generally higher in conventional foods as well. Why you may ask? Well, the study authors suggest that is likely due to the fertilizers used on conventional crops.
Nutrient Density: Show Highlights
Here are notes from the show from Dr. Hyman’s podcast website The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Dan’s experience growing up on an organic farm and how it shaped the way he thinks about farming (6:12)
Limitations of organic agriculture and labeling agricultural practices overall (11:57)
Agriculture’s historic focus on calorie abundance over nutrient density and flavor (14:10)
Understanding the connection between soil health, planetary health, cultural health, and spiritual health (16:57)
America’s malnutrition crisis (20:15)
How flavor correlates to nutritional value in plant foods (23:17)
Why soil health is key to human survival (28:45)
How much has the nutrient density in our food dropped in the last 100 years? (35:12)
Hand-held consumer spectrometer designed to test nutrient density of plant food at point of purchase (39:04)
Driving beneficial changes in the food supply system (44:48)
Learn more about Dan’s work at https://bionutrient.org/ and at https://realfoodcampaign.org/.
Follow Bionutrient Food Association on Facebook @bionutrientfoodassociation, Instagram @bionutrientfoodassociation, and on Twitter @BionutrientFood.
Follow the Real Food Campaign on Facebook @realfoodcampaign2.0, on Instagram @realfoodcampaign, and on Twitter @realfoodorg.
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