Brits are in the dark when it comes to the purpose of different nutrients
Millions of Brits are unaware what nutrients they need for a healthy body, with a fifth believing vitamin C’s main role – is to make you more intelligent.
A study, of 2,000 adults, revealed 37 percent are unsure of what vitamins their families need, while 35 per cent admit they don’t really know what different nutrients actually do.
Nearly a third (30 percent) don’t consider vitamin C to be essential for a healthy body, with less than half (43 percent) aware that it helps to keep skin healthy.
While three in ten were unaware of the importance of vitamin D, and the same number thought you could get it simply by eating any fruit or vegetable grown in a sunny country.
As a result, 45 percent don’t think they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diets.
It also emerged that only half of parents are confident they know the nutrients their children should be consuming.
Vitabiotics, which commissioned the research, has created a guide, with the help of clinical dietician and academic Sophie Medlin, to show how nutrient needs differ between family members and why.
Sophie, Consultant Dietitian at CityDietitians, said: “Humans need different vitamins and minerals for their body to continue to function healthily, but these can vary depending on your age.
“Children who go through phases of fussy eating may benefit from a more comprehensive vitamin supplement which includes iron and B vitamins, as these are particularly important for growth and development.
“And when they are school age, brain function and immunity are at the top of the agenda for parents.
“As they grow into teenagers, their nutritional needs are high as they hit growth spurts and puberty.
“But even as an adult, your needs can change – especially during pregnancy or as you reach middle age or old age.”
The study also found less than half of those polled consider magnesium to be an important nutrient, with only 40 percent aware that spinach is a good food to consume to boost intake.
And although a quarter view copper as essential, just 29 percent were aware part of its role is to produce red and white blood cells.
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Only 21 percent knew cheese was a good source of vitamin A, while one in five (21 percent) didn’t realise that calcium is needed to help build strong bones and teeth.
But two-thirds (65 percent) of adults were also unaware that the NHS advice states that adults, aged 19-64, need 40mg of vitamin C in their diet a day.
While more than half (52 percent) didn’t know that adults need 10mg of vitamin D daily, and that the NHS advice is to take a supplement to meet this level between September and March.
It also emerged 41 percent are confused about how the amounts of vitamins and minerals you need change as you get older – to cope with different life stages.
And 69 percent of parents don’t always consider the vitamins and minerals their children need when planning their meals, as they don’t really know what they need.
But worryingly, 38 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, aren’t confident they could spot the signs that they need more.
A spokesman for Vitabiotics said: “Many of us are aware of the need for vitamins and minerals in staying healthy and allowing your body to function normally.
“But there seems to be confusion about what those essential vitamins are, how much of them we still need and also how you get them into your diet.
“For parents, there is also the added issue of knowing what your children should be consuming and whether they are getting what they need.
“We want to try and make things easier for families to know what they should be having and where they can get it from, so we have created a guide to give them the information they need for their loved ones of all ages.
“The Department of Health advises that all children aged six months to five years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day.”
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