While 38% of survey respondents singled out bread as the key culprit behind gastrointestinal distress, 24% said it was good for digestive wellness.
Consumers are confused about what foods are good for digestive health, a new survey by consultancy New Nutrition Business reveals.
The survey asked 3,000 people from the UK, Australia, Spain, Brazil and the US to rank some common foods as good or bad for their gut health.
The number of people who believed bread, meat and milk were good for digestion was almost equal to the number of people who believed they were bad.
While 38% of respondents singled out bread as the key culprit behind gastrointestinal distress, 24% said it was good for digestive wellness.
And despite kefir and fermented vegetables being hyped as gut health heroes, more people believed bread was good for digestion than believed kefir (17.6%) or fermented vegetables (15.8%) were good.
Consumers are just as divided over the gut health benefits of milk and meat. Nearly half of those surveyed, 46.6%, believed dairy milk was good for digestive health, while 30.6% thought milk was bad for their digestion. Just over half, 55%, said they choose lactose-free foods for their digestive health (although only 15% claim to be lactose intolerant).
For meat, 27% of respondents said it was good for digestive wellness, while 33% believed it was bad.
New Nutrition Business research manager Joana Maricato said: “Contradictory consumer beliefs about which foods are good or bad for digestive health indicate how strongly attitudes about food and health are fragmented. Most people are adopting a wide variety of behaviours in relation to diet and health.”
This is a result of growing mistrust in official dietary guidelines, according to Maricato.
“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,” Maricato added.
Most respondents, 76%, said they thought messages about diet and health were confusing. Asked where they learn about healthy eating and diet, most said they searched online and read blogs, while only 28% asked a nutritionist or a dietician.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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