What fruits and vegetables looked like before

Peach

Fruit is candy from nature. Here’s why.

Before we humans domesticated fruit they were nowhere near as big or sweet. Check out these shocking examples of how familiar fruits used to look, just a few hundreds or thousands of years ago. Like the peach above that is 64 times bigger and sweeter too, more examples below.

Remember that when someone says that “humans have always eaten fruit”. That’s true, but it was not fruit like the ones we pick up at the grocery store today. That is superfruit, containing way more sugar than ever before… it’s candy from nature.

Personally I do eat a piece of fruit once in a while, as it tastes good and I’m happy with my weight and health and seem to be able to tolerate it. But if I wanted to lose weight without hunger I’d definitely cut back on it.

Here are more examples of how fruits and vegetables used to look like:

Banana – before and after

banana1banana2

Carrot – before and after

carrot1carrot2

Watermelon – before and after

watermelan1watermelon2

Earlier

The Great Canadian Cauliflower Crisis

The Quest for the Eggless Egg

45 comments

  1. tz
    Not Superfruit, more like Frankenfruit. (Dr. Frankenstein, not even getting into GMO)

    Even Wheat. Einkorn is the original wheat https://jovialfoods.com/einkorn/
    Still not really low carb, but it makes real bread - something in moderation like fruit.

  2. chris c
    We have wild carrot and parsnip and sea kale growing around these parts. You would have to be starving to the point of desperation before you even considered eating them. You would probably choose rope and your own shoes first. Many of the berries are pretty much unchanged though. Wild apples and plums are edible but fairly unpalatable.

    I have a hypothesis that plants bred for high yield and fast growth probably only lift the same quantities of minerals etc. from the soil but dilute the nutrients into a much greater volume of product.

  3. RT
    This is really interesting, thank you for posting it. I was aware of this, but wondered about the specific differences between ancient and modern fruits.
    Just to play devil's advocate: I recall reading an article about fruit by Denise Minger in which she asserts that there are in fact wild (hence unaffected by horticulture) varieties of fruit found today in certain parts of the world (e.g. Indonesia) which contain very high amounts of sugar, comparable to domesticated fruits today. So one could infer that consuming such a level of sugar (fructose, l guess) is safe and / or healthy somehow (perhaps the fiber in the fruit precludes an insulin spike somehow...?)
    Any thoughts?
    Reply: #15
  4. RT
    OK, I found the article. Perhaps Ms. Minger herself may wish to comment if she runs across this post.
    http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/05/31/wild-and-ancient-fruit/
  5. RT
    Okay, apparently Indonesia is not one of the counties mentioned in the article....but anyway you get the point. Fruit is one of those point where LCHF / Paleo eaters tend to agree to disagree, so a friendly debate on the points raised by Denise would be interesting. I'm on the fence myself, and tend to avoid fruit "just in case;" I figure as long as I'm getting enough veggies, a no-fruit way of eating won't hurt.
    Reply: #10
  6. RT
    Countries, not counties....I hate touch screens.
  7. Sharon
    I have a question I'm putting out to see if I'm finding the right information on salicylates. We eat LCHF but my husband has allergies to sulphites and recently discover salicylates.
    Can anyone supply me with good info?
    I'm wondering if recent AFib is caused by this?
    Reply: #32
  8. Scott
    I have a large acreage in Idaho and we have two wild plants that the American Indians used to eat. Wild onions and wild grapes. The wild onions have the usual stem but very small like grass and the bulb is smaller than a pea. Indians used them in soups for flavor and if you taste the stem, I did, it has the familiar onion taste. The wild grapes grow on bushes and are very very tiny, again smaller than green peas. They are not as sweet as modern grapes but the deer just love them for a treat. I think modern man has become very spoiled by his hybrid food.
  9. Scott
    One other story about early American Indian food is that if we were offered a meal from the Shoshone of Idaho on the Oregon Trail in 1850, we would be appalled by the taste of the food. In the great basin, at that time, the Indians had little to choose from in the form of plant food. Being hunters and gatherers their "meals", to our taste, would be very earthy and unappealing. When Lewis and Clark were in the Lolo Pass in Idaho they were starving and the local native Indians gave them a meal of Salmon which saved their lives. They became violently ill from the food offered. It appears that the Europeans were already on the way to unhealthy eating with their epicurean diets by 1850.
  10. Thor
    Appeal to naturalness is not an actual argument. Plenty of poisons occur naturally in nature, does that mean it's healthy for us to eat poison? No. "Natural" is not an argument for anything, it's an attempt at branding something to either sell you products or to sell you an idea - and if you're a normally critically thinking individual, you won't buy either. What is healthy to humans is registered by its effects on the human body - and these are relatively well tested. Healthiness is not defined by whether it appears naturally in nature or not, I assure you nature is full of things that kill humans, both intentionally and unintentionally.
    Reply: #34
  11. janet
    Fruit would have been much more seasonal than it is for us now. We get all fruits all year round now thanks to our ability to move it around the globe. Thousands of years ago, a small number of fruits may have been in abundance for a few weeks but then they would disappear until the same time next year. So humans wouldn't have eaten the fruit all the time, as we do, or had so many different kinds to choose from.
    Reply: #31
  12. Marion
    1) I've read somewhere that even compared with fifty years ago, apples are twice as sweet as they used to be, because - as we started eating more and more sugar - our palet has changed.

    2) I live in northern Europe. Fruit season starts here in june/july (berries and cherries), goes over in august (plums) and ends in september/november (apples, pears). And that is after centuries of cultivation. If we were to look into hedgerows to find fruit that our ancestors would've consumed 4000 years ago, you'd have a few berries in summer/autumn, crab apples (small and very sour), rosehips and wild cherry, wild pear and wild plum (damson) in autumn. All of these fruits were small, far less sweet than any cultivar and very, very SEASONAL. Which leads to my last point:

    3) What comes after autumn? Winter! And here in the north that means snow and no green food to speak of, let alone fruit.
    Fruit, such as it was, was only available three months a year, right before five of the leanest months of the year (vegetable wise), since new green only started to come into bud somewhere in april. So from november 'till april, people had to rely on meat and fish that one caught and perhaps some dried roots/plants/fruits.

    What I'm getting at is this: in those short months that carbs were available (even if the level of sugar is less than it is now), our rising bloodsugars and insulin would trigger fat storage for the lean time of winter and early spring. When winter came after that, the virtually all fat and meat diet would have us switch back again to burning fat. THIS IS WHY WE STORE CARBS AS FAT AND THIS IS WHY WE CRAVE THEM. Our bodies were evolved the way they were because high carb foods used to be sparse and seasonal.

  13. Terry Davis
    I'm a bit confused. I grew up in the Amazon region of Brazil, and the jungle was full of fruit trees, including bananas, which were all "wild." How could they be considered domesticated if they are growing in that environment, and why would those non-domesticated fruit in the jungle, such as the bananas, still look like those in our grocery store and not like those this article is saying are the way they were before humans domesticated them?
  14. Lois
    Terry Davis - There is a growing pool of evidence that the Amazon rainforest is not natural/wild at all, but the product of agriculture by ancient civilization.
  15. Victor
    RT:

    Fruit is seasonal, nobody would eat any variety of fruit year round. So sugary fruits may be natural, but the time of year for actually eating them would be very limited--lets say, a month or so. Plus, you have to compete with the other wildlife that is eating them.... the actual yield of a wild fruit tree available to humans to consume would be a fraction, due to birds, primates, or other animals also consuming them.

    Just food for thought.

  16. Leonardo
    Terry, bananas and mangos came from Asia to Brazil in the 1500's through Amazonas River. They were already domesticated.
  17. Dorothy
    Pictures in the full article are interesting. The conclusion it draws is oddly pro GMO, though: See? We have already been genetically modifying our fruit for thousands of years so it's no big deal! (Yikes) Whereas my takeaway from here is that cultivation of fruit has led to greater increase in sugar content than most of us are evolved to handle, especially now that fruit is available year round!
    Replies: #20, #43
  18. Stephen
    Our greatest problem is we have accepted a theory and made it a fact and tried to explain why we have different fruits today. Evolution is a theory, totally un-testable, the myths built up around it are enormous. Fruits grow after their kind. They only fruit for a short time, we only eat fruit that grows locally AT THE TIME it is ripe, we should not be under any misapprehension that fruit from the supermarkets are actually really fresh, they have been sprayed to keep them looking fresh. Tomatoes may look red, but are still green. Our major heath problems today come from wrong food eaten at the wrong time of the day, of the month, of the year. It is best if possible to grow your own, but if not try a local farmer's market for ORGANICALLY grown, fresh produce. only buy it in season, not from storage. Our whole society has altered what we eat when, grains are not poison - if grown organically from ancient grains, but they are hard to get. un-poisoned flours of any description are near impossible to obtain. Our body's natural reaction to excess poison is to enclose it in fat, that is why artificial sweeteners - even Stevia do not and cannot help you lose weight, they are poisons, and stored in fat. most medications are also stored the same way. I've lost 25 kg since going on a low GI and moderately increased meat diet. I'm going to increase my meat - but only free range grass fed meats or wild caught fish, as farmed fish are also fed poisons in the same way grain fed meats and poultry are. humans are the worst enemy to healthy living because of arrogance and greed - not evolution!
    Replies: #29, #33
  19. Derek Davidson
    I just assume that any ancient fruit was gorged upon to fatten people up before winter - just people following the cycle of the seasons. And that's why we love the taste of sugar / carbs generally speaking. Stands to reason then fruit should be eaten only in small quantities to reduce body fat content.
  20. craig
    No, Dorothy, we have not been eating GMOs. These fruits are the product of selective breeding which is a naturally occurring process. Dogs, for example were selectively bred from their ancestors, wolves. GMOs are the product of splicing the cells of bacteria, or other non-related species into the genome of a particular plant. The equivalent would be splicing the cells of dogs with a bird so that they would grow feathers. The danger with GMO's is the negative impact GMO foods have on the environment and the potential risk in consuming those products.
    Reply: #23
  21. J L De Foa MD
    I see this was INITIALLY published on 2016 Jan 31, as a science article in BUSINESS INSIDER, not in a reputable scientific journal title, as far as I can tell. Science Alert copied it from them. (http://www.businessinsider.com/what-foods-looked-like-before-genetic-modification-2016-1/?r=AU&IR=T/#wild-watermelon-1).
    It was repeated again on 2016 May 18 with a second author. (http://www.businessinsider.com/what-foods-looked-like-before-genetic-modification)
    The initial author, Tanya Lewis, has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering and a graduate degree in science communication. (http://www.businessinsider.com/author/tanya-lewis). NO REFERENCES were cited supporting the claims.
    I too have read Denise Minger's 2011 review of multiple studies showing the claims of the article are unfounded. I think the claims that ancient fruits have all been changed are false, and Diet Doctor perhaps ought to review including it, to at least add a disclaimer.
  22. J.
    This is like saying a purebred Golden Retriever is an "artificial dog" because it was bred over thousands of years to have the genotype and phenotype it does today. Because the breeding was selected by humans, that makes the 4,000 year old dog and peach more "natural?" Not genetically. Your use of "natural" and "artificial" in the label at the top is extremely misleading.
  23. Rick
    Craig, that is a terrible explanation of GMOs.
  24. Alan
    I grew up in Transilvania Eastern Europe.
    As a kid i spent most of my holidays with my grandparents in country. Our summer holidays used to be 3 months like you got bored by the end of it (whic was good) unlike now less than 2 months.
    My grandparents lived pretty much as back in the olden days. They had electricity but EVERYTHING was manual labor and so to speak "natural". Food was strictly seasonal. In summer we had fruits and veggies, lots of broths, soups, caseroles, chicken. However in winter it was preserved meat (smoked pork) and pickled cabbage, cucumbers etc. They also ate mamaliga (farmed on their own land) which is very rich in minerals and healthy. My grandad used to say white bread was like cake. It was a rarity. Their fruits and veggies have never been modified in any way and neither sprayed. They also used cow manure to enrich the soil. I remember the tomatoes were so sweet and salty that there was no need for salt or any enhancers whatsoever. I never tasted a tomatoe like those ever after. Actually recently aome Romanians have found seeds from the past and planted them and everybody is amazed at the difference. All the veggies and fruits (no exception) in Australia are incomparably inferior to those we had as kids in Romania, no dispute hands down. We call these ones "plastic". No doubt people have been experimenting with grafting.
    My grandma used to cook with lard in winter, couldn't afford the sunflower oil government rationed. Pork sausages were fried and stored in big lard jars of 5ks. If you think this was yuck you are dead wrong. Yummiest thing ever. She'd fry them with eggs. The other typical thing they had was slanina which is pig fat or bacon but with less meat. Fruits wise during winter, we had some apples which we called winter apples. They were hard as rock in autum but softened by winter. The story can go on but indeed a vegetarian lifestyle is complete bogus and unsustainable. Vegans are the biggest hypocrites on earth: "save the fish amd kill our babies". But more on that on a different occasion.
    Reply: #40
  25. JG6101
    http://www.boredpanda.com/weird-watermelons-beautiful-hollow-heart/
    The watermelon one has been debunked so many times.
    O.K. this doesn't come from a peer reviewed article but if you just google 'swirly watermelon' you'll find a lot of photos.
    Also, your "before" carrot looks like ginseng.
    I am an advocate for LCHF but this page is very misleading.
    #research
  26. 1 comment removed
  27. SomeAvatar67
    Could it be that in warmer climates your body needs more carbohydrates and less fat, and in colder climates you need more fat and less carbohydrates?
  28. Ray
    To the doubters, do your own research. This is fact. There are books with many credible sources cited. In addition to the fruits that have been manipulated to be larger, sweeter and easier to grow, transport and sell are most of our vegetables with the same story. Besides the overdose of sugar and lack of fiber is that none of our food was changed in order to be more nutritious. Look into "eating on the wild side" and foraging.
  29. Eloise
    Stephen, I wish I could take things like homeopathy seriously, but then there are people like you that just make it so, so hard.

    Evolution is a theory, totally un-testable, the myths built up around it are enormous.

    Your use of the word "theory" indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of science, so please refrain from attempting to make any sort of claim about these issues again.

    To quote an article on The Scientific American website: "According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific theory is 'a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.' No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk about the theory of evolution--or the atomic theory or the theory of relativity, for that matter--they are not expressing reservations about its truth."

    Fruits grow after their kind.

    Not sure what this means.

    Our body's natural reaction to excess poison is to enclose it in fat,

    This is just obscenely mislead and I don't know where you got the idea. Our body's reaction to poisons ("toxins") is to denature it in the liver. That is why if you die of poisoning, the autopsy will reveal a heavily scarred liver.

    Please do some actual research before posting drivel like this anywhere ever again!

  30. sill
    this text is pretty ancient O am sure this is not " domesticated fruit" Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. When they arrived at the Eshcol Valley they cut off a branch with a single cluster of grapes—it took two men to carry it—slung on a pole. They also picked some pomegranates and figs. They named the place Eshcol Valley (Grape-Cluster-Valley) because of the huge cluster of grapes they had cut down there.
    Numbers 13:21‭-‬25 MSG
    http://bible.com/97/num.13.21-25.MSG
  31. Frieke Karlovits
    seasonal is the key word - it should also apply fro veggies and our entire eating concept...the on ly way we have control or at least dome control on what we eat - grown locally !!!
  32. anne
    SHARON QUESTION ABOUT AFIB...CHECK OUT DR. CAROLYN DEAN CANADIAN DOCTOR LIVING IN HAWAII.......RE HER PROTOCOL.....MAGNESIUM (WAS GIVEN INTERNATIONAL AWARD FROM HEART INSTITUTE IN ENGLAND)...... FOR HER RESEARCH INTO MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY AND EFFECT ON THE HEART & AFIB & LACK OF A GOOD QUALITY SPECIFIC MAGNESIUM.
  33. Margaret Becker

    Evolution is a theory, totally un-testable, the myths built up around it are enormous.

    This statement shows that you do not understand science. In science, a "theory" is the most tested and testable idea of all - accept as fact. Examples include the theory of gravity and the germ theory of disease. Evolution is a fact. The word you may be seeking is "hypothesis." When a hypothesis has been thoroughly tested, it becomes a theory, which is the most accepted explanation of how things work. The idea that something is "just a theory" and therefore something to be ignored, just shows ignorance of the scientific method.

  34. JasperW
    Thank you for making sense.

    The idea that 'natural' is good and 'artificial' is bad is implicit in this article. Yet, that is the only way bad ideas survive: when they are half-noticed and not fully in the light.

    If the author made the idea explicit, I'm sure many more readers would look at the 'old' carrot or peach, and say: "Well, I think I'd rather go for the artifical thing!"

  35. Bett
    I guess pick your poison is appropriate
  36. Paul
    Just eat fruit that is local and fresh and in season.
    I find a peach tree and I gorge on the fruit, sometimes 20 peaches( takes a few hours) because I know it will be one year before I get another chance.
    If I get the chance to do this it means that I would normally not eat anything else for the day or longer or at least until I feel hungry which is normally a long time.
    I have at least 10 locations where I can "raid" other people's trees after getting permission
  37. Marcus
    What about berries? Blueberries, chokeberries, gooseberries etc
  38. dranant
    Common man don't know reality of nature..and he/she have no problem with eating this ,but when he/she got problem he/she may invesgate it
  39. Mark Withnell
    I have been a professional farmer all my life and farmed all mediums of agriculture and livestock. And in my own life time I have witnessed and experienced abnormal changes in climate and food production. The food we eat now is more toxic than ever before in human history , along with all the health problems that go along with producing our food. I stopped chemical farming a long time ago. My farm has the healthiest soils and animals in the district. Financially and health wise I am way better off than my fellow contemporaries.

    I have a degree in agriculture , animal science and agribusiness , so I know how to manipulate agriculture the way I want it , into modern demand for food production. GMO will come back to haunt us. Most people forget , when you change , alter or manipulate an agricultural medium. There is a wait time for cause and effect , so for example 0 to 5 , 5 to 10 , 10 to 20 , 20 to 30 years and so on. Then clusters of health and disease issues start to show and present. We are already there at cause and affect, in the way we produce food and food production.
    This is why I chose not to farm to cause harm.

    Also , I think most commentators have missed one vital point in this forum. You can deny evolution all you like, but one undisputable fact remains. Humans were once plant , nuts and berry eaters Etc., when humans started to eat meat , we evolved. The human needed meat (protein to evolve the brain)

    I challenge anyone on this forum , to intelligently explain how on earth , any of the food you eat today even closely resembles healthy nutritious wholesome food. That even closely resembles the food of 200 years ago , let alone a thousand years ago.
    We have denigrated most of the soil types in the world , we use 70% of the fresh water resource's for agriculture ( we have the technology to reduce that by half right now , but we don't do it ? ) We chemically alter agriculture and livestock every day , when there is no need to do so. At the rate we using our resources we will be at critical crisis by 2050.

    Something to think about when you next bite into an apple.

  40. Maria-Virginia tanasa
    I too amRomanian from Bistrita- Transilvania and I know exactly what you are talking about, I just don’t agree with your last statement. Some people become vegetarian for health reasons, I did because my liver cannot process meats and lactose.
    Since living in the Us, I started treasuring Romanian produce so much more...not many things taste “natural” in the US
  41. Paddy B
    Selective breeding isn't really the same as stitching dead body parts together and reanimating it with lightning...
  42. Averal
    Mark Withnell. You have no evidence whatsoever to backup your claim that GMOs are dangerous and toxic. Saying that you will be proven right in the future is saying nothiinh. you want someone to challenge your claim that no modern food is healthy? Again that is nothing but hyperbolic nonsense. I can send you the nutritional value of many modern foods that are arguably healthy.
    Reply: #44
  43. Natalia
    It was cross pollination, not genetic engineering.

    Pictures in the full article are interesting. The conclusion it draws is oddly pro GMO, though: See? We have already been genetically modifying our fruit for thousands of years so it's no big deal! (Yikes) Whereas my takeaway from here is that cultivation of fruit has led to greater increase in sugar content than most of us are evolved to handle, especially now that fruit is available year round!

  44. Natalia

    Mark Withnell. You have no evidence whatsoever to backup your claim that GMOs are dangerous and toxic. Saying that you will be proven right in the future is saying nothiinh. you want someone to challenge your claim that no modern food is healthy? Again that is nothing but hyperbolic nonsense. I can send you the nutritional value of many modern foods that are arguably healthy.

    "Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. "

  45. Clare
    I've just picked some wild plums growing in the middle of no where And they are sweet And beautiful , so there , ner ner ner ner ner
  46. Clare
    Plus as food is so false grown and tampered with we should take vitamin supplements and try to eat as much free range , organic and wild stuff as your money can buy

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