As part of the national survey on food consumption in France (1), 1,171 adults recorded their food consumption over seven days. Researchers analyzed the results of the study using a statistical method to assess individual food preferences, individual dietary patterns and restrictions imposed by food intolerances (2). They determined the percentage of people who could be provided with 30 essential nutrients by modifying their food intake.
- Mathematically, only 22% of the population could obtain all 30 nutrients from their habitual food intake.
- 78% need to add new foods to their diet to meet their nutritional requirements.
- Vitamin D, sodium, magnesium, saturated fatty acids and free sugar were the nutrients that presented a significant problem for all.
- Women did not take in sufficient calcium, vitamin E or iron.
- Eggs, butter, cheese and foods rich in fat and sugar are the main sources of vitamin D – foods which should all be consumed in moderation because of their saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt content.
The researchers concluded from this analysis that, mathematically speaking, it is impossible for the great majority of French adults to achieve an optimal diet with adequate nutrient content without expanding the range of foods consumed. Such information could be useful to committees establishing dietary recommendations.