Nutrient-Depleted Foods

Majid Ali, M.D.

A Reader’s Letter and My Response


Below is a letter I received from a reader and my brief responses.

Hello Dr. Ali,

I can only imagine how busy you might be. I would be happy to know your take on a Q &A in The New York Times on September 15, 2015 entitled “A Decline in the Nutritional Value of Crops.”

The above is the letter from a reader. I read the Q&A in the Times. The question was: “Is today’s food less nutritious than it was in the past because agricultural soil is being depleted of minerals?” I offer brief comments on the subject matter and then reproduce in full the answer to the question by the Times’ writer.

Polluted acid rain water robs food it grows of their nutrients. This is common sense and scientific.

Chemicalized soil cannot be good for the nutrient content of the plants it grows. This is also common sense and scientific.

The same holds for the soil depleted by excessive harvesting.


Regrettably, the scale of this problem is so large that no quick short-time answers are forthcoming. And nations are neither ready nor willing to study the matter diligently and seek meaningful answers.

Is today’s food less nutritious than it was in the past because agricultural soil is being depleted of minerals?” I return to the Times’ question. The answer: absolutely yes. This is the finding in the limited studies on the subject done so far. But it not just a matter of minerals. It is a matter of the total richness of the soil – microbes, their enzymes, and their earth-processing activities.

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