Bakers Journal

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Survey: Canadians missing the mark with fruits and veggies consumption


February 25, 2014
By Bakers Journal

Feb. 25, 2014, Toronto – A recent survey by the Florida
Department of Citrus (FDOC) and EKOS Research Associates found that 90 per cent
of Canadian adults fall short of meeting Canada's Food Guide's recommended
servings of seven to 10 fruits and vegetables per day.

Nearly 50 per cent of respondents indicated they only
consume between one and three daily servings of fruits or vegetables, less than
half the recommended amount.

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This survey, which asked Canadians about their awareness and
adherence to specific dietary best practices, found a large number of Canadians
are vague in their understanding and practice of dietary recommendations. More
than 40 per cent of Canadians believe they should only be consuming between
four to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

"This research suggests that Canadians need to be much
more diligent consuming seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every
day," says Gail Rampersaud, registered dietitian. "Good habits
go a long way and without proper intake Canadians risk serving themselves short
of key vitamins and nutrients that contribute to overall health. Meeting the
recommended daily servings can be challenging but there are practical ways to
get there," she says.

To help educate Canadians, Rampersaud has also provided
insights on the commonly followed nutrition guidelines revealed by the survey:

  • Fifty-five per cent of survey respondents report consuming
    eight cups of liquid a day, a positive finding as this is important for
    hydration and overall health.

  • Forty-two per cent of survey respondents report eating
    protein for breakfast. This helps provide balance and variety at this important
    meal and some research suggests that protein has a satiating effect that may
    help people feel full for a longer period of time.

  • Forty-one per cent of respondents believe that dark
    chocolate is good for you. While dark chocolate contains cocoa and some studies
    report that the flavonols in cocoa may have cardio-protective effects, large
    amounts might need to be consumed to reap the benefits. Since chocolate
    provides calories and fat, it is best to enjoy a small portion simply for the
    taste and enjoyment.
  • A significant number of respondents also report that they
    eat small meals throughout the day (38 per cent) and avoid eating before
    bedtime (36 per cent), habits that some may find help them to maintain a
    healthy weight.

  • Canadians also revealed a preference for fruit over fruit juice
    with 34 per cent of respondents saying that they do not think fruit juice is a
    healthy option. While whole fruit should be chosen first when trying to meet
    fruit intake recommendations, 100 per cent fruit juice is a convenient and
    concentrated source of key nutrients. It is important to consume amounts that
    are appropriate and fit within daily calorie needs.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 18 and Dec. 23,
2013 using EKOS' unique online Probit research panel, with a random and
national sample of 1,250 Canadians aged 18 and older. A sample of this size
provides a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.