Healthy Eating Costs More, Reveals Study
A new study reveals that a healthy diet is more expensive, making it harder for Americans to tailor their diet according to US nutritional guidelines. The researchers opine the government must work harder to help its citizens eat healthy meals.
According to the dietary guidelines, Americans need to consume more foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber and potassium. But this is not an easy task as such a diet would increase their annual bill by hundreds of dollars.
Potatoes and beans are relatively inexpensive and contain potassium and dietary fiber. But, adding the required potassium to the diet could still increase expenses by $380 annually. The researchers called on the government to make healthy eating more affordable. Food coupons can be used to buy vegetables and fruits. But, in some states they cannot be used to buy vegetables like potatoes, which contain potassium.
Low Spenders Eat Fatty Food
This study was reported in Health Affairs journal. It surveyed about 2,000 people in Washington state. It found that high spenders on food are more likely to meet the federal nutritional guidelines, compared to those who spend the least. In fact, low spenders are more likely to consume foods containing sugar and saturated fat.
Cost is a Major Factor
Health experts say poor people eat cheap fast food not only because of the good taste, but also because their prices are lower. It is estimated that cost plays a major role in the food decisions made by about 49 million Americans who do not have the money required to eat healthier foods.
Why Healthy Food is Costlier
Some health experts say Americans make it harder for themselves by choosing organic food, local sources of food or by eating vegetables and fruits that are not in season. Plus, driving longer distances to get vegetables and fruits also adds to the cost. Government subsidies to farmers could also inflate prices, say diet experts.