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Nutrition awareness lacking, new poll finds

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Researchers have revealed that a third of people are interested in nutrition, yet many struggle to identify basic vitamins, minerals and ingredients.

According to the research, more than a quarter think mercury – a pollutant toxic to humans – is safe to eat. When it comes to fats, 32 per cent of people don’t know if monounsaturated fats, which can reduce cholesterol and are found in avocados, are good or bad for health. Furthermore, one in 10 don’t know omega 3 is a fat found in fish, flax seeds and walnuts – with some even mistaking it for a watch brand, and 29 per cent confused choline with chlorine. And it’s a similar story for vitamins; of those who take vitamin C, 35 per cent have no idea it’s essential for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. Six in 10 don’t think they’re getting enough vitamins in their diet but 67 per cent wouldn’t be able to spot the signs they are vitamin deficient or not.

Dr Marilyn Glenville

The research of 2,000 UK adults was commissioned to launch KNOW Your Nitrates (NO3), a campaign aimed at educating people on nitrates in drinking water. It found that 77 per cent have no idea what a nitrate is or whether they are good or bad for you. Nine in 10 aren’t aware nitrates in drinking water can have a negative impact on health. Only 21 per cent know nitrates can end up in mineral water from chemical fertilisers, and just nine per cent know nitrates are pollutants from the water table. 

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD commented: “This survey shows that people don’t find it easy to identify vitamins, minerals and other ingredients. That is why it is so important to read the labels on your food and drinks. It is crucial to know what you are putting in your body as this affects your health both physically and mentally.”

“The lack of understanding about nitrates, particularly in water, shown in the survey was of concern. And also, for me, as a nutritionist, to learn that in many European countries, the legislation requires that the nitrate content in water should not exceed 10mg per litre. But in the UK, the limit is 50mg per litre for adults and there is no legislation in place for children.”

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