Though the Department of Agriculture has recommended that most of a dinner plate should be filled with foods rich in potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium, a new study says adopting such a diet “would add hundreds more dollars to (Americans’) grocery bill,” reports Donna Gordon Blankinship of The Associated Press.
Adding more potassium to one’s diet alone could add $380 per year to the average person’s food costs, a paper published in professional journal Health Affairs found. Lead researcher Pablo Monsivais, an assistant professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, objected to how healthy eating is marketed, with ads showing a plate of salmon with green, leafy veggies and rice pilaf. Many Americans cannot afford to eat that way, he said.
He added some government policies are helping to cut down on the cost of fruit and vegetables, but some policies create problems. A state policy in Washington makes it difficult to buy potatoes with food assistance coupons, despite the fact that eating potatoes is an inexpensive way to gain potassium.
The study was based on a random telephone survey of about 2,000 adults in a county in Washington. It was followed up by a printed questionnaire, to which 1,300 people responded. Hilary Seligman, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, found the results eye-opening. A lot of people assume the poor eat cheap food because it tastes good, but they would make better choices if they could afford to, she said. (Read more)