August 28/Lab Business Week -- Snacktrition released the results of a national consumer survey that sheds some light on common snacking habits and nutrition knowledge. The survey was hosted by food and diet brand Participants, consisting primarily of women ages 25-55, were asked about the snacks they choose, as well as specific questions related to their knowledge of a snack's calcium and fiber amounts, the two nutrients commonly missing from Americans' diets. Results showed that approximately 63% of participants could not identify the recommended amount of calcium they are supposed to consume daily, while nearly 50% were unfamiliar with the daily allowance of fiber suggested for healthy adults.

While consumers continue to be inundated with information about what makes a snack healthy, there seem to be some misconceptions about the nutrients needed each day. Although the National Dairy Council recommends adults consume 1,000mg per day of calcium, recent studies show that 55% of Americans are not getting enough, which has been proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension and aid with blood pressure regulation. In addition, 95% of Americans have difficulty meeting the National Fiber Council's recommended allowance of 32g of fiber, which helps to promote intestinal health, lower cholesterol and prevent fat absorption. One simple way to avoid calcium and fiber deficits is to snack on small portions of enhanced foods, such as Snacktrition, between larger meals.

Planning ahead for healthy snacking is an important step for consuming the correct amount of vitamins and minerals a body needs without adding too many unhealthy fats or calories. According to the survey, almost 50% of respondents label themselves as inconsistent snackers, admitting that they try to keep wholesome snacks around, but often grab whatever they can find. More than half of the survey respondents said that they always take the time to read nutrition labels before making a food purchase, yet the survey found that even with these good intentions people may not always know how to decipher the information they see, and when hunger strikes, they may choose a snack that can derail their entire diet for the day.

From the September 2, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash