Friday, March 5, 2010

Frozen vegetables 'more nutritious than fresh vegetables', says report

I suppose that produce purchased from most farmers' markets wouldn't be relevant here, on the assumption that it has indeed been harvested recently.

And while the research has been paid for by a producer of frozen food, the argument strikes me as sound.

So fresh food is better if it is really fresh.

The health freaks and "organic" devotees won't like one bit of this

Up to 45 per cent of important nutrients are lost in fresh vegetable by the time they are consumed. It can take up to two weeks for fresh produce to reach the table from being picked although the survey found that 80 per cent of shoppers thought the fresh vegetables in supermarkets were less than four days old.

Produce which is frozen soon after being picked with have more nutrients sealed in, scientists from the Institute of Food Research claimed. Meanwhile after 16 days green beans have lost 45 per cent of nutrients, broccoli and cauliflower 25 per cent, garden peas up to 15 per cent and carrots 10 per cent.

The research was carried out by the Institute on behalf of Birds Eye the frozen food manufacturer. Nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker said: "The nutritional content of fresh vegetables begins to deteriorate from the minute they are picked. This means that by the time they end up on our plate, although we may think we're reaping the vegetable's full nutritional benefits, this is often not the case."

Interesting comment in the same issue of the Food & Health Skeptic about the recent Vioxx decision.

Maybe not quite the simple evil drug company peddling a dangerous product as it has been presented. If he's right, the court's decision may not survive any appeal.

I have never been happy with the attack on Vioxx. It has focused mainly on "ad hominem" accusations against the company rather than on the medical evidence. Let me summarize that evidence briefly: Less that one half of one percent of people taking Vioxx get heart attacks and most of them are in frail health anyway. But that tiny rate of heart attacks is still 2 to 4 times greater than the rate observed with some other Cox2 inhibitor drugs. And here is the kicker: Even though Vioxx takers get more heart attacks, they DON'T DIE of them at a rate higher than that seen among patients on other Cox2 inhibitors.

The fact is that all Cox2 inhibitors have troublesome side-effects but the side effects differ somewhat. So patients and their doctors should have a choice: A patient not doing well on one Cox2 inhibitor might do well on Vioxx. But that option has now been taken away. A patient might well have been ready to accept the slightly elevated risk of a non-fatal heart attack in order to have their arthritic pain relieved without other side-effects.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

1 comment:

Gilly Newman said...

I eat frozen veggies daily and rarely eat fresh. They are super convenient and, while not exactly cheap, are pretty value packed.

(Actually I take issue with them saying frozen is cheaper than fresh; the only time this seems to happen is when it's pre-cut fresh. Frozen veggies are almost always pre-cut though.)

The one thing that concerns me is I've seen other research that suggests microwaving veggies is pretty darn harmful to the nutrients. So is any cooking method, sure, but microwaving especially so. If I had an easy way to steam my frozen veggies without microwaving, I'd do it, but I don't.

Most frozen veggies I buy now are steam-in-bag microwaveable. I wonder if the nutrient loss is the same for these as for non-steam-in-bag?