Survey says: Canadians have much to learn about natural health

National poll reveals surprising misconceptions about popular health claims

TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Winter is around the corner, and that means cold and flu season is upon us.  To help us prepare for the change in season the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has conducted a national survey of over 1,500 Canadians from coast to coast to determine if we can distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to popular natural health myths. Canadians achieved a passing grade overall, but the survey revealed some significant knowledge gaps around popular natural health products (NHPs) such as probiotics, vitamin C and vitamin D.

"The survey revealed three-out-of-four Canadians were likely to consider using a natural solution to maintain their health and happiness," says Michelle W. Book, CHFA's in-house holistic nutritionist. "Our goal this NHP Week is to ensure Canadians have all the information necessary to make educated decisions when choosing NHPs and natural solutions to stay healthy and happy."

The survey demonstrated a lack of knowledge around the role NHPs play in our digestive health. While 95 per cent of Canadians surveyed understand that not all bacteria are bad, only 69 per cent knew that probiotics have been linked to immunity and only 28 per cent knew that serotonin, our feel-good hormone, is produced mostly in our gut. 

Additional salient data from the national survey revealed the following, about Canadians' perceptions of NHPs:

  • Only 34 per cent understand that caffeine can improve exercise performance.
  • Just over 60 per cent know that products with the official Canada Organic logo are required to contain at least 95 per cent organic ingredients and that eating organic foods can significantly reduce exposure to pesticides (64 per cent).
  • 78 per cent still think vitamin C can ward off the common cold.
  • Less than 30 per cent understand that 95 per cent of our "feel-good" hormone serotonin is produced in the gut (28 per cent).
  • 84 per cent know that honey has antibacterial properties.
  • 78 per cent know that calcium is important for more than just bones and teeth.
  • 32 per cent know that vitamin D does not occur naturally in many whole foods.

The survey also highlighted the variation in knowledge between regions. Albertans are less likely than the rest of Canadians to answer correctly when asked if eating organic foods significantly reduces exposure to pesticides (51 per cent versus 62 per cent). However, Albertans are more likely to know that multivitamins are important not only for pregnant women (94 per cent), compared to the 86 percent of Ontarians, Quebecers and B.C. residents who did not. 

Nova Scotians received top grades when asked if Canadians get enough fibre, with 94 per cent reporting correctly that we do not. However, only 29 per cent of East Coasters know that caffeine can improve exercise performance.  

In an effort to bridge this knowledge gap and help Canadians adopt healthy habits, CHFA is holding NHP (Natural Health Products) Week from Nov. 2 to 8, a week-long celebration of the happiness and wellbeing that natural health products bring to millions. CHFA member health food stores across the country will be participating in the celebrations and CHFA invites all Canadians to visit their local store to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle using NHPs.

"CHFA is proud to be spreading the word about how to stay happy and healthy this season during NHP Week and all year long," says CHFA President Helen Long. "This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on NHPs and their many benefits. It's also a great time for those interested in healthier living to visit their local CHFA member health food store to learn more about the important role NHPs play in maintaining and optimizing our health and happiness."

The nationally representative survey of 1,585 Canadians was completed by Leger Marketing from Aug. 17 to 20, 2015. The probability of the sample size yielded a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE Canadian Health Food Association

Video with caption: "Video: The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) conducted a national survey of over 1,500 Canadians to determine if we can distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to popular natural health myths. It turns out, many Canadians still don’t know all the facts. Here are Canada’s top seven natural health myths explained. For further information on natural health visit". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Only 32 per cent of Canadians surveyed are aware that vitamin D is not naturally found in many food sources. Supplementation with vitamin D is almost universally recommended. Find out the facts about vitamin D at (CNW Group/Canadian Health Food Association)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Canada’s organic standards are among the most widely recognized in the world; however, over 40 per cent of Canadians surveyed did not know that products with the official Canada Organic logo are required to contain at least 95 per cent organic ingredients. Find out why Canadians are increasingly choosing to “go organic” at (CNW Group/Canadian Health Food Association)". Image available at:

For further information: Beatrice Bastedo, Merkato Communications, (416) 915-4408 ext. 1,


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