Federal Guidelines Regarding Healthy Food Choices Prove Expensive

The new MyPlate federal guidelines that replaced the old food pyramid earlier this year could prove prohibitively expensive for many US families. The recommendations suggest that people increase their intake of foods high in potassium, fibre, calcium, and vitamin D. However, a recent report in the journal Health Affairs points out that abiding by all the guildelines could add thousands of dollars to a family’s average yearly grocery costs.

The new Myplate guidelines were adopted in order to address the deficiency most people experience in these areas. Those individuals who are most lacking in potassium, fibre, calcium, and vitamin D tend to consume more sugar and saturated fat.

It is apparent that the most nutritional foods available are not necessarily the most reasonably priced. However, according to a Health Affairs study, in which 2,000 Seattle area residents were surveyed, most Americans are already aware of the need to balance healthy choices with affordability. Researchers suggest that US families should be encouraged to purchase foods that are nutritious, reasonably priced, and enjoyable to eat, rather than making meal choices based solely on nutritional values.

First Lady Michelle Obama is starting an initiative to assist US children to develop healthy choices regarding food and cooking. This is in response to the obesity epidemic among young people. It is also recommended that a better way to identify foods that are both nutritious and reasonably priced, be implemented in grocery stores.

Abstract available online from Health Affairs re. study by Monsivais, Aggarwal, and Drewnowski : http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/8/1471.abstract

Additional commentary also available from The Rundown Blog – August 24th at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/08/healthy-eating-good-for-your-body-bad-for-your-bottom-line.html
photo by John Nyboer

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