Survey Results Suggest Patients Are Being Misled

Survey Results Suggest Patients Are Being Misled

Friends and family are thought to be the ones who have our very best interests at heart, and most often, they do! However, the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 12th Annual Food and Health Survey indicates that although nutrition tips and information people receive from their closest confidantes may be well-intended, it could also be quite misleading. About 77% of consumers say they rely on those in their social network for guidance on what’s healthy, but conflicting advice is confusing Americans, making them doubt their own choices, and becoming downright overwhelming.   Relying solely on your own knowledge doesn’t appear to be the best option either though. While almost all consumers surveyed indicated they are hoping what they consume will yield health benefits (i.e. better digestion, increased energy, heart health and weight loss), less than half knew what specific nutrients they should be targeting to accomplish those health goals. The way food is packaged (e.g. fresh or frozen) and how much it costs also contributes to misperceptions about how healthy it is. Consumers tend to believe a product that costs half as much as a product with the exact same nutritional value is not going to be as healthy for them.   Interestingly, amidst all the confusion, results of the survey suggest self-confidence grows with age. Only 47% of America’s fastest-growing demographic—those aged 50 and older—say the conflicting information they receive makes them doubt decisions they make about what to steer clear of, and what to eat. This more mature generation seems less fazed by the information overload and more apt to rely on their own beliefs; whereas, millennials are almost twice as likely to tap into those in their network on a regular basis for health and nutrition advice.   Perhaps getting back to the basics is the best advice? Less sugar, processed foods, and saturated fats; more vegetables, high-quality protein, and plenty of water. Make time for exercise. And, if it all becomes a little too overwhelming, people should consult a healthcare practitioner or dietitian who can help dispel myths about what’s healthy and what’s not.   Source: IFIC Foundation 12th Annual Food and Health Survey

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