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Perception Does Not Equal Reality When It Comes to Knowledge About Nutrient Intake: 2013 IFIC Functional Foods Survey Reveals Nutrient Shortfalls Among Americans
Date:10/2/2013

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 02, 2013

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans (79 percent) say they are at least somewhat knowledgeable about nutrition, but new research from the International Food Information Council shows several wide gaps between their perception of the adequacy of their diets and reality.

The 2013 International Food Information Council Functional Foods Consumer Survey reveals that despite consumers’ reported knowledge about nutrition, the majority (67 percent) believe they fall short of meeting “all or nearly all” of their nutrient needs. “Functional foods” are defined as foods that have benefits beyond basic nutrition—such as blueberries, yogurt, and fortified milk, bread or cereal.

The survey also shows significant disconnects between people’s beliefs about whether they are getting sufficient amounts of many specific nutrients and the reality of their diets, as judged by the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) recommended by experts.

A comparison between the survey’s findings about perceptions of diet adequacy (by specific nutrient) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data shows wide chasms between how many believe their intakes are adequate versus the actual DRIs. For nutrients such as vitamin D (68 percent perception vs. 32 percent consumption), potassium (61 percent vs. less than 3 percent), and fiber (67 percent vs. 5 percent), the discrepancy between perception and reality is quite stark. The high percentage of consumers who are meeting their needs for B vitamins (60 percent perception vs. 90 percent consumption) is a testament to the value of functional foods, especially fortified foods, as providing a “functional fix.”

However, there are still gaps in knowledge and consumption of a variety of other functional components such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, flavonoids, and zeaxanthin. One third, or less, of the population say they are not consuming enough o
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