Survey: More people aware of probiotic benefits, but misperceptions remain

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A new survey from Dannon released Wednesday revealed that Americans are more familiar than ever with probiotics.

The annual benchmarking survey, which interviewed 2,000 Americans ages 18 years and older, tracks awareness and perceptions of probiotics. It found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the term “probiotics,” up from about half in 2009. Currently, 45% of Americans consider themselves very or somewhat knowledgeable on the subject, compared to 36% in 2009. In addition, the survey found that Americans are making health-conscious decisions about the foods they eat, with 6-in-10 saying they have made food purchases driven by health concerns.

Despite these positive findings, many myths and misconceptions surrounding probiotics and digestive health remain, Dannon noted. To help address Americans’ concerns and confusion, Dannon is partnering with registered dietician Keri Glassman, founder and president of Nutritious Life and author of The O2 Diet.

“Through our partnership with Keri Glassman, we hope to help elevate Americans’ understanding of the factors that affect digestive health, including what we eat,” said Miguel Freitas, director of health affairs for Dannon. “Probiotics have become increasingly popular in the past several years, but our annual survey shows that there are still some misunderstandings about what they are and how they work, which can lead to confusion for consumers.”

Here are some of the common myths and misperceptions uncovered by the survey:

  • Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents (22%) believed that all bacteria can make you sick;

  • One-third of respondents feel uncomfortable eating foods that contain bacteria; and

  • 30% of Americans are unaware that different strains of probiotics have different benefits.

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