Want To Eat Healthier? That Will Cost You An Extra $380

Written by Jessica Smith on Aug. 05, 2011

Americans spend about $4,000 a year on food, but if you want to make healthier food choices, you’ll have to fork out more money, a new study finds. The study was carried out by Pablo Monsivais and other researchers at the University of Washington and published in Health Affairs on Thursday.

Eating more potassium, one of the most expensive of the four nutrients, can cost you up to an additional 10% out of your wallet. The four nutrients, based on the U.S. nutritional guidelines, are to eat more foods that contain fiber, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium.

Monsivais and his colleagues surveyed 1,123 adults in King County in Washington state and it was found that the average person surveyed would need an extra 700 milligrams of potassium a day of the recommended 3500 milligrams to reach the recommended amount by the former food pyramid, now called the “My Plate”. Considering that it costs just over $1.00 to get the extra 700 milligrams in items such as bananas, that could cost you more than $380 a year per person.

“We know that dietary guidelines aren’t making a bit of difference in what we eat and our health overall,” Monsivais said about the federal recommendations, but adds that “one missing piece is that they have to be economically relevant. They emphasize certain foods without much regard for which ones are more affordable.”

The survey found that it is also more expensive to eat more vitamin D and more dietary fiber, while junk food items can be found cheaper. In addition, more affluent families are more likely to eat healthier, the study finds.