Staggering Statistic: The Four Most Common Crops

June 5, 2015
by Annalise Mantz for Thrive Market
Staggering Statistic: The Four Most Common Crops

Walking through a farmers market or grocery store, the varieties of produce can seem endless. With five varieties of apples, multiple kinds of lettuce, and countless seasonal vegetables to choose from, it's easy to forget that most of the world doesn't live like this.

So how would you react to knowing that this isn't the norm for most of the world?

Just four of the more than 30,000 edible plants provide 60 percent of the world’s energy intake, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Those four plants? Corn, wheat, rice and potatoes.

Photo credit: Pockafwye via Flickr

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This article is related to: Food, Non-GMO, Organic, Pesticide-free, Educational

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  • AnnieLaurie Burke

    It makes sense that starchy plants provide most of the ENERGY for humans worldwide -- they are among the most calorie-dense vegetables (excepting a few high-fat ones like avocados and olives). But the headline is somewhat misleading -- there is a big difference between nutrition and energy. The energy content of a food is its calorie content. Most non-starchy plants that are very high in micronutrients, and that might provide the vitamins and minerals we need each day, are very low in calories. Thus, while these non-starchy plants may provide a lot of our nutrient needs, they provide little energy. One large baked potato (10.5 oz.) provides 278 calories, while a 10.5 ounce portion of diced tomatoes has 63 calories (http://whatscookingamerica.net/NutritionalChart.htm).