WASHINGTON — Nearly three-quarters of Americans in an International Food Information Council survey ranked digestive health highly. Many of them seek probiotics and prebiotics in yogurt, fruits and vegetables, and dietary supplements.
In the study involving 1,000 interviews conducted among adults 18 and over March 4-9, 24% said digestive health was the most important aspect of their overall health. Another 48% said digestive health was important but other health aspects were more important.
Thirty-two percent said they were trying to consume probiotics, which trailed whole grains at 51% and yogurt at 48%. Other answers included fermented foods at 23%, prebiotics at 22% and postbiotics at 13%.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit, according to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). Prebiotics, which include fiber ingredients, serve as food for beneficial microbes/probiotics in the body. A panel for the ISAPP defined a postbiotic as a “preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host.”
When asked where they seek probiotics, 54% of the survey respondents said yogurt, 47% said fruits or vegetables, and 44% said dietary supplements. When asked the same question for prebiotics, the top three answers were the same with yogurt at 38%, fruits or vegetables at 37%, and dietary supplements at 36%.
In the survey 35% said they were familiar with probiotics but do not try to consume them. When asked why not, the top answer was more important priorities when it comes to food choices at 29%, followed by products containing probiotics were too expensive at 23%, did not notice any health benefits after consuming probiotics at 22%, did not know which foods or beverages were sources of probiotics at 19%, did not think probiotics would provide health benefits at 19%, and did not know where to look on food/beverage packaging to see if the products contained probiotics at 14%.