Mexicans seek high fiber for weight management

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary fiber, Nutrition

Mexicans are becoming more interested in healthy foods and dietary fiber, opening up new opportunities for food and beverage companies to launch high fiber products, according to research from Tate & Lyle.

Nearly half of Mexico’s 110 million people are overweight, and the Mexican government has recently launched a number of health campaigns to try and tackle the nation’s obesity problem. Last year, it introduced “Vamos Por un Million de Kilos” (Let’s Lose a Million Kilos), in an effort to collectively shed about two million pounds. It reached its goal in just four months, and has now launched the less specific “Vamos Por Mas Kilos” (Let’s Lose More Kilos).

Tate & Lyle’s research – conducted by market research organization Illuminas – was based on a sample of 1,399 adults in Mexico, and showed a high awareness of the importance of dietary fiber for weight management. 71 percent were interested in adding dietary fiber to their diets, while 79 percent considered weight management to be an important issue.

It found that this was the top health concern for Mexicans, followed by immunity defense and healthy digestion.

Fiber’s appeal

Vice president at Tate & Lyle’s global health and nutrition sciences, Dr Sue Potter, said: “Diets high in fiber are associated with overall good health as well as weight management.”​ She added that this is why dietary fiber is “a key ingredient manufacturers should incorporate into food and beverages.”

The research also examined how Mexican consumers perceived particular foods as sources of fiber. It found that 63 percent of respondents found the idea of high-fiber beverages appealing, 80 percent thought cereals and grains that help manage weight was appealing, and 78 percent liked the idea of dairy that helps with weight management.

Food labeling

Over half of respondents said they read food labels to check nutritional information and ingredients before they buy a product, and the research suggested that parents buying food for their children were even more likely to check the label. It found that nearly half of parents actively try to include dietary fiber in their children’s diets.

The number of obese children in Mexico has risen eight percent in the past decade, as overall prevalence of overweight and obesity has rocketed, leading to predictions that Mexico could overtake the United States as the world’s fattest country over the next ten years.

In 1989, fewer than ten percent of Mexican adults were overweight; now 71 percent of Mexican women and 66 percent of Mexican men are overweight, according to the latest government figures.

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