Contradictions about digestive health benefits of foods revealed by survey

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7th February 2019 12:08 - Food

Contradictions about the digestive health benefits of foods revealed by survey: A survey of respondents from five countries around the world has revealed confusion when it comes to which foods are good and bad for digestive health.

The poll of 3,000 by New Nutrition Business surveyed respondents from the UK, Australia, Brazil, Spain and the US and found 'fragmented attitudes' around the benefits of foods including milk, bread and meat.

Over three-quarters of respondents found that messages about health and diet were confusing – with most saying they sourced information online and by reading various health blogs. Just 28% of those polled said they sought advice about foods, diet and health from a dietician or nutritionist.

When it comes to digestive health, 38% believed bread was the main source of gastrointestinal distress – however, more than a quarter (26%) believed the contrary – that a loaf was actually beneficial to digestive health.  Bread was also believed to be better for digestive wellbeing than foods hailed as heroes to digestion such as kefir (17.6%) and fermented vegetables (15.8%).

Understanding of the advantages or disadvantages of milk were also revealed, with 46.6% thinking the white stuff aided digestion, while 3 in 10 (30.6%) believed it was detrimental to digestive health. The survey also revealed that a significant number of people deliberately avoid foods with lactose (55%) even though only 15% said they were lactose intolerant.

Figures show a similar contradiction with meat, with 27% understanding it was good for digestive wellbeing compared to 33% thinking it was bad. Joana Maricato, research manager at New Nutrition Business said:

“Changes in dietary advice over the past 15 years have created consumer scepticism about the “expert” opinions of dieticians and nutrition researchers, just at the moment that technology has made it easier for people to find dietary information for themselves.” 

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