Eating healthier food can add almost 10 percent to the average American’s food bill — and that’s just to boost a single nutrient like potassium.
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. They also call for avoiding saturated fat and added sugar.
The diet recommendations try to fight rising rates of obesity in the United States, where more than one-third of children and two-thirds of adults are overweight. But the study’s findings underline some of the obstacles to adopting new habits.
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. The study also found that those with higher average incomes were more likely to eat healthier foods.
At the same time, getting more calories from saturated fat and sugar reduces overall food costs, the report showed.