- While 73% of American adults believe they have a "healthy" or "optimal" diet, cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death in America, according to a three-country survey commissioned by the Global Nutrition and Health Alliance (GNHA) to be published in Nutrition Today.
- Many cases of heart disease are caused by obesity and poor diets that are high in sugar, certain fats, and cholesterol. Taking the country's high rate of cardiovascular disease into consideration, Americans could be overestimating just how healthy or optimal their diet is.
- One way for consumers to combat heart disease is through omega-3s and vitamin D in their diet, either through foods or supplements. According to the survey, 65% of respondents weren't sure whether their diet was high enough in omega-3s, and only 48% consume enough vitamin D in their diets. As food manufacturers look for ways to retool their products to make them healthier, fortifying their products with vitamin D and/or omega-3s is one way to attract health-conscious consumers who are looking for more nutritious foods.
By 2011, adding omega-3s to food had become popular for major food companies, such as General Mills' Total Plus Omega-3s cereal or Kellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 released a few years ago. In 2011, Packaged Facts had predicted that the U.S. omega-3 ingredient market would grow 40% between 2010 and 2015.
By that time, more technology had been developed to help disguise the strong fish oil taste, which many companies used to add omega-3s to their products if omega-3s were not naturally occurring, and extend shelf life of the products.
However, the FDA began to feel that some companies' omega-3 claims were unsubstantiated.
In 2014, the FDA issued a final rule that banned most omega-3 content claims on product labels for two types of omega-3s, DHA and EPA, naturally occurring in fish, and some claims for ALA, which is produced by plants. Since, consumers have not seen as many omega-3 content claims for the products they buy, a lament for food companies who had used those claims to attract health-conscious consumers.