MILAN - Proper nutrition is essential for living well and staying fit. But do Italians know the basics of good nutrition? A study carried out as part of “FEED your MIND!”, the interactive exhibit created by Nestlé in the Swiss Pavilion at the Expo 2015, found Italians to be unprepared regarding this subject. In fact, one out of three people failed the nutrition test.
There is much confusion, especially among women
34% confuse calories and fats. Only a meagre 16% said they were prepared to tackle issues related to food. Moreover, with regard to a balanced diet, only 24% know the right composition of the necessary nutrients in a meal, (40% carbohydrates, 15% protein, 5% fat, 30% salad and other vegetables, 10% of fruit and 3 glasses of water). But most surprisingly is that young women appear to be the least informed, while men, equally surprising and contrary to commonly believed, proved to be more knowledgeable because they tend to be more curious about the matter. But that's not enough. To lose those extra kilos, Italians still rely on the advice of friends (64%), while 56% focuses on fashionable trends of the time, not to mention the 49% who do everything on their own. In all of these cases, the results are unsatisfactory and worsen their own well-being. Only 35% trust the recommendations of an expert suggesting proper treatment.
Lack of a food culture
The real indication of the poor food culture prevailing among Italians is when it comes to "terminology". As many as 34% frequently use technical terms, through without truly grasping their meaning. 17% do not even know the exact number of meals in a day, though proper nutrition isn't just about the number of meals but also balancing foods based on their nutritional properties. More than 8 out of 10 Italians did not know that the ideal number of meals is 5 per day. As for terminology, there was also a bit of confusion. For example, 21% of people think carbohydrates are a type of vegetable, whereas 17% think they are sweets. Only 41% of Italians can correctly explain what they are. And what about metabolism? For 34% of people this is a real "disease which leads to eating", while 22% think it is a diet done every other day. Only 23% know the correct definition.
There is also a lack of knowledge about diets, such as the definition of a dissociated diet: for 42% of Italians a diet is done by only one member of the family, while for 16% of respondents it is based on fruit alone. Only 19% showed an understanding in this regard. As for calories, only 35% of Italians seem to know the correct meaning of the term. However, for 28% of people they are thought to be the fats contained in food while 19% think they are a set of vitamins. But the lowest point was with regard to the Mediterranean Diet. One of the fundamental aspects of Italian culture is known by just 18%. 39% define it as a diet based solely on fish, while 16% think it is a type of eating only to be done in the summer.
by editorial staff