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DSM finds disconnect between perception and reality in Americans' understanding of personal health, nutrition

A new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by DSM shows that consumers are overly confident about their diet and nutrient intake when the reality of their personal health tells a different story.  

When it comes to personal health, there is a gap between our nutritional needs and how well we're meeting them.

A new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by DSM Nutritional Products, the leading provider of nutritional solutions, shows that consumers are overly confident about their diet and essential nutrient intake. However, the reality of their personal health tells a different story.  

More than half of Americans want to improve their overall nutrition and wellness, but don't know where to start. The same number (51 percent) are confused about the science behind nutrition recommendations. And while research shows only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of essential nutrients[1], 57 percent believe they do.
And at a time when policymakers are finalizing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a majority do not feel that these recommendations accurately reflect their nutritional needs.
"Our results will help consumers be their brightest selves. Our mission is to raise awareness about the nutrition gap of essential nutrients, and resolve conflicting and confusing information about the keys to better nutrition to help fill that gap," said Will Black, DSM Vice President of Marketing for Human Nutrition & Health, North America. "This survey identifies barriers to better nutrition and information."
In addition to the survey, DSM recently hosted a consumer focus group and roundtable discussion moderated by Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, and Registered Dietitian and author Elizabeth Somer. Participants discussed the challenges of maintaining adequate nutrition, and the role of essential nutrients and supplementation play in filling nutritional gaps.

"Studies show our diets are low in many nutrients. The DSM Better Nutrition Survey underscores the importance of teaching Americans about food sources of essential nutrients and the need to supplement responsibly," said Somer, M.A., R.D. 

Findings show varied awareness of essential nutrients and the impact they have on health, including:

  • Most are familiar with vitamins D and E (92 and 83 percent, respectively), while only about half are familiar with DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. Fewer still are familiar with lutein (29 percent) and zeaxanthin (6 percent).
  • Only 10 percent are aware that zeaxanthin can support optimal vision health; only 9 percent know that lutein may support brain health.
  • One-fourth of consumers are unsure of how vitamin D supports bodily function, despite high familiarity.

Based on the survey and focus group, DSM plans to work with experts to develop tools, such as a guide to decipher credible scientific studies, to help consumers understand ways to achieve optimal nutrition. To learn more about the recent survey and view supporting materials, visit

About the DSM Better Nutrition Survey
The survey was powered by Edelman Berland and consisted of online interviews among 3,004 respondents representative of the United States general population ages 18 years and older. The survey was conducted from March 23-30, 2015 with a margin of error of +/- 1.8%.

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