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Nutritional Supplements: shifting consumer dietary behaviour

Food intake and lifestyle have a strong effect on the nutritional health and wellness of today's consumers in their everyday lives. This poses huge problems for customers and practitioners alike. Food options for consumers are determined by behaviours, lifestyle, tastes, taste etc. Older surveys and pollsters say that one of the major developments in the health care sector is that patients are searching for new sources of medication to take care of their wellbeing. Supplement use has also been correlated with different patterns of health-related behaviour.

Recently, there is a shift in people’s perception of nutrients, body and bodily health. They interpret, represent and experience these differently now, and understanding of their importance is improved. This has also led to an increase in the consumption of nutritional supplements

Health: Then vs Now

Earlier, the idea of “healthy” or “nutritionally-sound” was a basic balanced diet: a balance of carbs, proteins and fats. But now, people are understanding the importance of micronutrients, the importance of a variety of food, better. A RAINBOW diet has come into the light, which is a basic template, as to how different coloured foods may provide nutrients. Basically, the more colourful food is, the better the variety, more would be the nutrients you get.

Effect of pandemic

Specifically, there is a nutritional concern among consumers following the current pandemic that we do not get enough nutrients from ordinary or traditional foods. Anxiety is a powerful effect on consumer dietary behaviours.

The global lockdown has led customers to turn to organic foods and in recent times the trend of food consumption has changed from packaged foods to home-cooked foods. Likewise, the sudden shift in trend has heightened anxiety among ordinary people and the perception of nutrient scarcity.

ABCs of nutrition

It is necessary to consider the significance of a supplement for nutrition and the very basics that nutrition cannot be components alone. And a thorough understanding of the recommended daily nutrient intake is also extremely necessary.

Recommended dietary allowances: RDAs are the intake levels of essential nutrients that are defined on the basis of scientific knowledge to be sufficient to meet the recognised nutritional needs of virtually all healthy individuals.

Nutritional Supplement: Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA)

Section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, provides the basis for the use of the term supplements for nutrition, consistent with global meanings. Nutrition supplement is a nutritional or dietary substance(s) that humans consume to complement the diet by increasing total dietary intake. They may include:

(a) Plant or botanical substances or parts thereof in the form of powders concentrates or extracts in water, ethyl alcohol or hydroalcoholic extracts, single or combined;

 (b) Minerals or vitamins or proteins or metals or their compounds or amino acids, or enzymes, or

 (c) Substances from animal origin and

(d) Where such products may be formulated in the form of powders, granules, tablets, capsules, jelly or other types of dosage; and not described as traditional foods.

More is not “better”

Supplements are available in a number of doses, often in various combinations. However, for our bodies to work, they need only a certain amount of a nutrient. Also, higher quantities may not be inherently better.

Routine consumption of some nutrients can interfere with absorption of other nutrients as supplements. It is also a scientific reality that food micronutrients absorb better, into the bloodstream and more bioavailable than vitamin and mineral supplements, pills, capsules or fortification supplements.

Balanced nutrition essentially promotes the normal healthy development and functioning of all systems. There are about 40 nutrients (at least the ones we know about) that are essential for the body, to function well. At least 39 essential nutrients must be provided by our food.

Along with macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats these also include micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, essential amino acids, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Need for an understanding of nutrition

As a single determining factor alone, no nutrient functions in isolation; it is clear that a deficiency in one contributes to sub-optimal functioning of others. This is why naturally obtained nutrients require further study and understanding.

The understanding of anxiety contributed to a rise in the demand for consumer nutritional supplement items and dietary habits. The customer understanding of body health and nutrient exchange might not, therefore, be at a point of mature understanding.

Food intake and lifestyle have a strong effect on the nutritional health and wellness of today’s consumers in their everyday lives. This poses huge problems for customers and practitioners alike. Behaviours, lifestyle, tastes, preferences help determine food options for consumers.

Food and nutrition, health and behaviour issues involve advances in both scientific expertise as such and its translation into public practice. Add-ons use is evolving. Older surveys and pollsters say that one of the major developments in the health care sector is that patients are searching for new sources of medication to take care of their wellbeing. Supplement use also has a correlation with different patterns of health-related behaviour.

Conclusion

Positive lifestyle factors are usually associated with the increased use of supplements. These factors may include maintaining optimal weight, consuming adequate levels of micronutrients and eating fruits and vegetables, for instance. Consumers who tend to be more receptive to nutritional messages prefer to eat supplements too. Highlighting and informing the customer that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet is extremely necessary.

There is a need to raise awareness among consumers in order to influence the pattern of food consumption including nutritional supplements if possible, as it is advisable to take particular supplements based on the nutritional status only for population groups. The ultimate message is: follow a safe, balanced diet, carefully read drug labels and fortified foods, and avoid repeated doses in excess of the RDAs.

Read our article on how traditional Indian diets helps in Cancer inhibition

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