A new study is confirming fears that we've already had: a healthy diet is just more expensive than an unhealthy one.
And that sucks. You'd think that being healthier would be rewarded in every area, including your wallet. And it would be a shame if money was the reason someone was holding back from making a lifestyle change.
An update of what used to be known as a food pyramid in 2010 had called on Americans to eat more foods containing potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. But if they did that, the study authors said, they would add hundreds more dollars to their annual grocery bill.
Inexpensive ways to add these nutrients to a person's diet include potatoes and beans for potassium and dietary fiber. But the study found introducing more potassium in a diet is likely to add $380 per year to the average consumer's food costs, said lead researcher Pablo Monsivais, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.
That's a lot of extra money just to hit the new food "pyramid" they way we should be. There are incentives like coupons, but those are proving to be not effective at all.
People who spend the most on food tend to get the closest to meeting the federal guidelines for potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium, the study found. Those who spend the least have the lowest intakes of the four recommended nutrients and the highest consumption of saturated fat and added sugar.
"Almost 15 percent of households in America say they don't have enough money to eat the way they want to eat," Seligman said. Recent estimates show 49 million Americans make food decisions based on cost, she added.
"Right now, a huge chunk of America just isn't able to adhere to these guidelines," she said.
Something should be done about this, especially for lower income families with kids facing childhood obesity. We don't know if that means there should be a government program or not, or if the food companies should step up and do something RIGHT instead of GREEDY.
The point is, health should always have incentives. It's the most important thing we've got.
[Image via AP Images.]