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NewsBites January 2011 Issue

Spend More, Eat Better?

P eople who eat more healthful diets really do spend more money on food. A new study compared the eating and grocery-spending habits of 78,191 women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Participants were divided into fve groups based on their scores on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), a system similar to the government’s food pyramid. Compared to those with the lowest AHEI scores, the healthiest eaters spent 24% more on groceries—and had lower rates of angina, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. But researchers emphasized that your nutritional bang doesn’t have to depend on the buck: “Although spending more money was associated with a healthier diet,” they wrote, “large improvements in diet may be achieved without increased spending. The purchase of plant-based foods may offer the best investment for dietary health.” (See our August 2010 Special Report for more on afford- able healthy eating.) American Journal of Clinical Nutri- tion, November 2010; abstract at

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