Food Cost Versus Nutritional Value
December 8/Seattle/Health & Medicine Week -- Current study results from the report, "The Cost of U.S. Foods as Related to Their Nutritive Value," have been published. According to recent research published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "Comparisons of the cost of different foods relative to their energy and nutritive value were conducted in the 1800s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The objective was to reestablish the relations between food cost, energy, and nutrients by using contemporary nutrient composition and food prices data from the USDA."
"The USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies 1.0 (FNDDS 1.0) and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion food prices database were used for analysis. For 1387 foods, key variables were as follows: energy density (kcal/g), serving size (g), unit price ($/100g), serving price ($/serving), and energy cost ($/kcal). A regression model tested associations between nutrients and unit price ($/100g). Comparisons between food groups were tested by using one-factor analyses of variance. Relations between energy density and price within food groups were tested by using Spearman's correlations. Grains and fats food groups supplied the lowest-cost dietary energy. The energy cost for vegetables was higher than that for any other food group except for fruit. Serving sizes increased with water content and varied inversely with energy density of foods. The highest prices per serving were for meats, poultry, and fish, and the lowest prices per serving were for the fats category. Although carbohydrates, sugar and fat were associated with lower price per 100g, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals were associated with higher price per 100g, after adjustment for energy. Grains and sugars food groups were cheaper than vegetables and fruit per calorie and were cheaper than fruit per serving," wrote A. Drewnowski and colleagues, University of Washington, Center for Public Health Nutrition.
The researchers concluded, "These price differentials may help to explain why low-cost, energy-dense foods that are nutrient poor are associated with lower education and incomes."
Drewnowski and colleagues published their study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ("The Cost of U.S. Foods as Related to Their Nutritive Value," The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010;92(5):1181-8).
For additional information, contact A. Drewnowski, University of Washington, Center for Public Health Nutrition, School of Public Health, Seattle, WA 98195-3410.
From the December 9, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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