It was over five thousand years ago when mankind first dabbled into the art of cultivating fruit. Slowly but surely, fruit farmers around the world have tinkered away at what was once simply a mechanism of seed dispersal. Through artificial selection, the biggest, brightest and sweetest crops have risen into prominence. Seeing the disparity between modern breeds and their wild relatives makes me wonder what I’m actually eating. More importantly, is it healthy for us to be tampering with our natural sources of sustenance.
Although the dangers of fruit farming aren’t about to hit the headlines, some researchers are making note of the issue. A common claim is that cultivated fruit contains too much sugar and too little fibre, and as a result, they cause bigger spikes in our blood sugar levels than wild fruit. Another issue is the reduced nutrition, because today’s fruit is optimized for harvest long before ripening. If we are to believe these reports, does that mean we need to be wary of the fruit we eat?
Personally, I’m not sold on this. Guided evolution is still far more natural than the chemical engineering of foods today. It’s not like we’ve totally eliminated the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are being produced by the plants. Maybe there aren’t as much, but these nutrients do allow us to process the sugar in fruit much more effectively that if we were eating, for instance, a slice of chocolate cake. Besides, a large portion of wild fruit doesn’t mature into anywhere near the calibre of what we’re lucky enough to eat today, and I’m positive that most people would eat less fruit if it didn’t taste as good.
In the end, what matters most is that people are getting fruit in the first place, which is why it’s great to have an organization like the VFTP to distribute it to those in need. Unless you plan on becoming a “fruitarian”, I doubt you’ve got anything to worry about.