Registered Dietitian Leslie Bonci Offers On-The-Go Food Solutions

New York, NY (December 22, 2006) – A recent survey by CondéNet, an online division of Condé Nast Publications, and the California Dried Plum Board, has found that digestive health issues are widespread among travelers. A majority suffer digestive health problems when traveling:

  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of travelers surveyed report at least occasional digestive health problems while traveling.
  • 42 percent report constipation problems while traveling.

The survey reports that approximately 20 percent of all travelers attribute their digestive health problems to eating poorly while on the road. Respondents cited eating poorly as the reason for their problems more often than other factors, such as not enough sleep, too much stress and being dehydrated.

"The disruption of one's normal routine/schedule is inevitable when one travels. But eating poorly is controllable by the individual. People really need to look at their food choices either while traveling or at home. They don't realize that there are simple preventative solutions which may help alleviate bouts of digestive discomfort that can occur on the road," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "You can't control long lines at check-in, flight delays or jet lag, but you can take control of your digestive health, and improve your overall health and well-being."

Despite agreeing that eating poorly negatively impacts their digestive health, most people simply aren't changing their behaviors with respect to diet. According to the survey, nearly one-third (30 percent) of people deal with their digestive health issues by taking an over-the-counter medicine. In fact, this was the most popular remedy cited by all respondents.

  • Only 9 percent report "eating more fruits and vegetables" as the method they use to combat digestive health problems on the road.
  • Only 6 percent report "changing my diet" as the method they use to combat digestive health problems on the road.

Bonci, who is author of the "American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion" and the team nutritionist for the Pittsburgh Steelers, encourages people to create a Good Gut Travel Kit. She came up with the kit concept for her patients who expressed concern about digestive issues while traveling.

Bonci says a Good Gut Travel Kit is her "nutrition prescription" for preventing or alleviating digestive discomfort while on the road. It's easily assembled with items you can buy at a well-stocked supermarket, health food store or online. Nutrient-dense California Dried Plums top the list. Dried plums help maintain good digestive health and have important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium and fiber. Also included in the kit are teas - chamomile, which may reduce cramps, and raspberry leaf tea, which helps with diarrhea. Crystallized ginger and ground flax seed complete the kit.

While the Good Gut Travel Kit was developed with her traveling patients in mind, Bonci says it's also crucial to educate yourself on the right food choices even when you're not traveling, in order to maintain good digestive health. The disconnect between attitudes and behaviors might be best explained by the following survey findings:

  • 16 percent of respondents report that they don't know what the right foods are to promote better digestive health.
  • 13 percent of respondents report that the foods that promote digestive health aren't convenient for them while on the road.

"It is a myth that foods that promote digestive health aren't convenient for people on the road or who have a busy lifestyle. I always bring whole wheat crackers, packets of hot cereal, small cans of fruit nectar, and dried fruits like dried plums to keep my gut healthy," Bonci said.

About the Survey: The survey, administered by CondéNet, included 6,065 responses from participants who filled out the survey online between October 5 and November 22, 2006. The survey was promoted through ads that ran on Epicurious.com, Concierge.com and Self.com.

About the California Dried Plum Board (CDPB): The CDPB represents 1000 dried plum growers and 21 dried plum packers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. Revered as part of California's rich history, the dried plum remains a vital player in California's economic wealth. A convenient, healthy snack for today's busy lifestyle, California produces 99 percent of the United States' and 60 percent of the world's supply of dried plums. Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., serves on the Digestive Health Organization Advisory Board, which was created by the CDPB. For more information regarding California Dried Plums or digestive health, please visit www.californiadriedplums.org and www.tummywise.com.

About CondéNet: CondéNet is the leading creator and developer of upscale lifestyle brands online, providing enjoyable, useful services that tie into and build upon the heritage of the world's most prestigious magazines. Today, CondéNet consists of the deepest online brands in the vertical categories of fashion (STYLE.COM and MEN.STYLE.COM), food (Epicurious.com), and travel (Concierge.com). Based in New York, CondéNet is the Internet division of Condé Nast, a privately held media company.