We all need to be mindful of what we put into our bodies, but at what cost?
If you are trying to eat as healthy as the government wants you to, it’s going to cost you: at least $7.28 a week extra, that is.
A recent update of U.S. nutritional guidelines — what used to be known as the food pyramid and is now called “My Plate” — calls on Americans to eat more fresh foods containing potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium.
But for a typical consumer, the simple act of adding more potassium to your diet could tack on hundreds more dollars to your annual grocery bill, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Health Affairs.
That could make it tough for many Americans to meet healthy diet recommendations during lean times — and the government should do more to help, according to lead author Pablo Monsivais, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Washington.
“Given the times we’re in, I think we really need to make our health guidance, in particular the dietary guidelines, more relevant to Americans,” he said.
Some quick calculations by Pablo and his colleagues showed how much eating healthy actually costs.
With potassium, for instance, the participants consumed an average of 2,800 milligrams a day — 700 milligrams below the recommended amount. To get up to par, they’d have to spend an extra $1.04 a day, or $380 a year. For a family of four, that’s $1,520 annually.
To boost levels of dietary fiber and vitamin D, they’d have to spend about 35 cents extra a day for each of the two nutrients. Most participants came so close to meeting calcium guidelines, they wouldn’t have to spend more on dairy products.
Overall, those who spent the most on food came closest to the recommended daily values of the nutrients across the board. They also came closest to staying within the recommended limits for saturated fat and added sugar.
Damn! An extra $1500 a year! Times are tough enough as it is, lots of people with no health insurance etc. There has to be a better way to eat a balanced healthy diet without breaking the bank.
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