Most Canadians confused about what's on their plate

    New interactive online tool tests Canadians' nutrition know-how and
    offers solutions to diet dilemmas

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Not long ago, many Canadians could have easily
mistaken Omega 3 for a star constellation instead of a "heart healthy" fat.
Most recently, antioxidants and Vitamin D have emerged as the latest nutrition
trends to watch, but few Canadians understand how these, or other vitamins,
minerals and nutrients, fit into their diet.
    According to a recent study, conducted by Environics Research Group,
dietitians and nutritionists are nearly unanimous about Canadians' lack of
proper nutritional awareness. Ninety-seven per cent claim that most Canadians
do not understand the specific role that vitamins and nutrients play in their
diet(1). And, nine out of ten nutrition professionals feel the plethora of
information available to Canadians makes it challenging for them to make
proper nutritional choices.
    "Many Canadians - especially moms, who make the majority of their
family's food decisions - are finding themselves "food fatigued" by what they
perceive to be constantly-changing advice about diet and nutrition," says Bev
Callaghan, registered dietitian and co-author of the best selling book
Suppertime Survival. "Few understand the important link between nutritional
knowledge and food choices. But it's key; and there are easy steps people can
take to improve their knowledge in this area."

    Is nutrition making us nuts?

    A recent poll conducted by Harris/Decima echoed this sentiment, revealing
the majority of Canadians (67 per cent) think that nutritional information is
always changing, making it difficult for the average person to keep up(2). In
addition, six out of ten people feel it's hard to determine which sources of
nutritional information are credible. It is apparent Canadians are flat-out
confused when it comes to nutrition. It's no wonder more than half of
Canadians (57 per cent) said they would use an online resource containing easy
to understand nutritional information from a credible source. But, knowing
where to look is the first step to understanding your vitamin A, B, Cs.
    In an effort to help Canadians learn more about nutrition, Minute Maid
has developed an engaging and informative online survey called Vitamin IQ. The
purpose of Vitamin IQ is simple: to give people a non-intimidating opportunity
to gauge their vitamin and nutrient know-how, while educating them on the
nutritional basics they need to make informed decisions about what to put on
their family's dinner table.

    What's your Vitamin IQ?

    Canadians curious about how well they measure up can test their skills at After logging on, participants answer a series of
nutritionally-based questions. At the end of the survey respondents receive
their results as well as a downloadable easy-to-use single-page guide on
health and nutrition. "People are already feeling confused enough about what
they should or shouldn't be eating," says Callaghan, who helped develop both
the Vitamin IQ survey and the dictionary. "These lighthearted but instructive
resources will debunk the myth that learning about proper nutrition is
intimidating and will instead ground Canadians in what they should know about
healthy eating."

    Nutrition shouldn't be a full-time job

    Lack of time is often the biggest barrier to keeping track of the latest
nutrition trends. Moms, in particular, often have a tough time juggling the
demands of work and family and staying on top of the latest nutrition
information. For example, Canada's Food Guide recently changed the recommended
number of servings of vegetables and fruit from five to ten servings per day
to a minimum of seven to eight servings for adult (19-50) females and eight to
ten servings for adult (19-50) males. Many Canadians find it tough to attain
these optimal nutrition goals.
    "The reality is, despite our best efforts, many people aren't close to
fulfilling this daily recommendation," says Callaghan. "Moms, in particular,
are always looking for simple and sensible solutions for meal and menu
planning. The good news is healthy eating and ensuring the entire family gets
the proper intake of daily vegetables and fruit doesn't need to be difficult."
    Callaghan offers the following tips to help make it easier to obtain the
right number of vegetable and fruit servings every day:

    Add colour: Choose at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each
    day. These varieties contain more nutrients than the lighter coloured

    Drink to good health: Choose 100% real fruit juices - Minute Maid's Fruit
    Solutions brand of 100 per cent juices contain two servings of fruit,
    five to six essential vitamins and nutrients such as Folate, Iron,
    Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Tiamine and are fortified with
    ingredients that support a specific health benefit such as Omega-3,
    Anti-Ox and Immune Support.

    Freezing can be fabulous: Consider frozen vegetables as a convenient and
    economical option. They are just as nutritious, keep well, and reduce
    chopping and preparation time.

    Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar
or salt.

    (1) Study conducted by Environics Research Group. This national sample of
        200 dietitians and nutritionists is accurate within
        +/- 7.1 percentage points nineteen times out of twenty
    (2) Study conducted by Harris/Decima in May 2008. This national sample of
        1,000 Canadian adults 18 years or older is accurate within
        +/- 3.1 percentage points

For further information:

For further information: or to book an interview with Bev Callaghan:
Lorna Freeman, Stephanie Bonk, Environics Communications, (416) 969-2711,
(416) 969-2668,,

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