Healthy eating could cost you up to $380 more a year

Healthy eating, higher cost / File photo

You may have noticed that Americans can buy a feast of greasy fast food for mere dollars--much cheaper than most organic fruits and veggies.

One research group broke down the actual cost of eating "healthier" and found you could fork over an extra 10 percent each month.

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health did a study and in it they focused on a survey of more than 1,000 King County resident's eating habits and how much they spent monthly on their diet.

After matching prices at Albertsons, Safeway and Quality Food Centers and reviewing the impact of the revised food pyramid, the study shows that eating more potassium , the most expensive of the four recommended nutrients, can add approximately $380 to your grocery bill a year.

You'll find large amounts of potassium in swiss chard, lima beans, yams, winter squash, soybeans, avocado, spinach, pinto beans, papaya and lentils.

The government should consider the economic impact of food guidelines, Researcher Pablo Monsivais said to International Business Times .

More health news Macomb is getting a Food Co-op Go away baby belly fat! How does your garden grow?

Buying enough fresh fruit to satisfy the 3,5000 milligrams of potassium requirement alone would cost $380 more a year. To also meet the recommended vitamin D and fiber intake racks up $250 extra annually. Americans spend about $4,000 on food each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The end result of the study? People who eat junk food pay less for groceries but weren't getting the nutrients, and vice versa.

"We know that dietary guidelines aren't making a bit of difference in what we eat and our health overall. And I think one missing piece is that they have to be economically relevant," Monsivais said. "They emphasize certain foods without much regard for which ones are more affordable."

Researchers hope the government will use the study to advertise cost-effective healthy foods for families on a budget, like that bananas and potatoes are the cheapest sources of potassium.

Would you spend more to meet the daily recommended amount of nutrients? Or could the government guidelines be impractical? Let us know below and on our KHQA Facebook page .