How Nutritious Is Our Food?

I explain to my clients that eating fresh vegetables is very important to their health. Fresh vegetables have vitamins and minerals which are essential nutrients. While no one disputes that eating fresh vegetables is best, studies have shown that they are not what they used to be.

Tamar Haspel is a Washington Post food columnist and winner of the James Beard Foundation Award, writes,

A 2004 University of Texas synopsis of studies compared food from 1950 to present day and found declines of 5%-40% in certain nutrients among 43 types of produce. The produce has been bred for increased disease-resistance and shelf life, as well as consumer appeal. Occasionally it works. Carrots have been bread a deeper richer orange color and have a higher Vitamin A count. Again, carrots are not the typical example. Broccoli has been bred to hold up better for shipping but has less calcium and magnesium. Unfortunately, the broccoli example illustrates the decline in nutrition for most of our produce. Unfortunately, The produce we eat does contain lower nutrient levels than from our parents’ and grandparents’ days.

Calcium and magnesium both are essential nutrients. Relying on broccoli from the grocery store will not ensure you have enough of it. 

My colleague, Jason Sweetnam, supplied me with the following information:

Here are some other alarming statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Only 26.3% of Americans are consuming at least three servings of vegetables a day
  • Nutrient quality in our soil is a small percentage of what it was even fifty years ago
  • 98% of Minnesotans are deficient in Vitamin D this time of year
  • 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium, which plays a role in every cellular function of the body
  • In order to get 100% of the RDA from food for all 27 essential vitamins and minerals you would need to consume 28,000 calories
  • The recommended RDA is merely to prevent deficiency and does not apply to optimal health and functioning, nor to the “average” gym member

Let’s take a look at the one day's food example below. As a whole, most people would consider this a very good days worth of food consumption. A variety of sources of proteins, fats, and vegetables is displayed. You could argue about the 2 slices of bread and spiking the blood sugar, but as a whole, this is a very good diet.


Breakfast: 2 large hard-boiled eggs

 2 slices of 100% multi grain bread

 1Tbsp natural almond butter

 4 fluid oz fresh orange juice


Snack: 1/2 cup 2% fat, large curd cottage cheese

 1 cup fresh blueberries


Lunch: 4 oz grilled chicken breast

 4 cups fresh romaine hearts lettuce

 4 pieces fresh, medium 1/8" thick sliced red onion

 1/2 cup fresh sliced with skin cucumber

 1/2 cup fresh red cherry tomatoes

 2 Tbsp Ceasar salad dressing


Snack: 1 oz mixed dry roasted unsalted nuts

 1 fresh medium apple

 1 cup nonfat vitamin A and D fortified skim milk 


Dinner: 6 oz alaskan grilled salmon

 1.5 cups long grain cooked brown rice

 2 cups frozen mixed gardener's blend vegetables

 1 cup steamed spinach


Would you be surprised to know the above example is significantly inadequate in vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, K, D,zinc, chromium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids (less than 66% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances), and also falls short (less than 100% of RDA) for potassium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, B2, and molybdenum?


What are you to do?

First and foremost, you must eat quality vegetables, proteins, and fats. Despite being short in nutrients, quality food is the backbone of health. In order to compliment your healthy diet, you must take a quality multi-vitamin. Why do I recommend LifeTime’s multi-vitamin?

  • AM and PM formula (Vitamins in the morning to support energy levels, minerals at night to promote repair)
  • Chelated Minerals (coated in amino acids to encourage your body to uptake them)
  • Men's Formula (Advanced Prostate Support from natural ingredients, such as saw palmetto, pygeum bark,pumpkin seed extract & lycopene)
  • Women's Formula (Advanced Women’s Health Support from natural ingredients, such as dong quai, folate & magnesium)
  • Over 80% of a LTF multivitamin gets absorbed, compared to less than 20% of the leading multivitamin.
  • Gel cap coating for easybreakdown and digestion (cellulose)
  • No synthetic vitamins,minerals, or chemicals
  • Clinically validated dosage (above the RDA to promote optimal functioning)
  • Third Party Tested, GMP Certified


If you are interested in investing in pharmaceutical grade multivitamins, follow the steps below:

Go to.

Enter your name and password from your myLT profile,

(if you have not set up an account, simply create a new account)

Search: multivitamin

Select Men's or Women's daily multivitamin

Click on the “my autoships”

Enter Trainer ID “ 10963 “ to receive an additional 10% off your purchase.


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified