This story is potentially bad news for the low-fat raw-food vegans over at the community website, 30 Bananas A Day. Reuters is reporting that eating healthier food can add over ten percent to the average American food bill — and one the vitamins researchers looked at was the nutrient potassium, which is the key nutrient in the cheapest form of potassium bananas and potatoes.
Researchers from the University of Washington looked at the economic impact of following new U.S. dietary guidelines, which recommend eating more potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium, and avoiding saturated fat and added sugar.
In an article in Health Affairs published on Thursday, the researchers reported that eating more potassium, the most expensive of the four nutrients, can add $380 to the average person’s yearly food costs.
As many people are starting to realize, with The White House’s emphasis on childhood obesity, the prices for healthy foods eliminate parents’ ability to incorporate a healthier lifestyle.
Pablo Monsivais, acting assistant professor at the University of Washington and one of the study’s authors, understands that the main problem is financial for many families:
“We know that dietary guidelines aren’t making a bit of difference in what we eat and our health overall,” he said. “And I think one missing piece is that they have to be economically relevant.”
In the study, the authors collected questionnaires on the typical eating habits of 1,123 people in King County, Washington, and calculated how much each diet cost based on retail food prices in three local supermarkets.
However, they did not factor in costs for food bought outside grocery stores, such as fast food — which would likely increase the food cost for each person.
The study also found that it is more expensive to eat more dietary fiber and vitamin D, and that people with higher average incomes were more likely to eat healthier food.