A  A  A   Print
Food Price Hikes May Affect Those With Type 2 Diabetes

Food Price Hikes May Affect Those With Type 2 Diabetes

FRIDAY, Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Food prices are linked to blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

To reach this conclusion, researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) merged information from two giant studies.

From the first study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they gathered blood sugar measures of about 2,400 adults who met a definition of type 2 diabetes.

They then compared those levels to average grocery prices over the previous three months in 35 markets around the United States. Those prices came from the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database.

The result? As the costs of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products climbed, so did blood sugar levels. The reverse was true for unhealthy foods. Falling prices for sugar, saturated fat and total calories were tied to higher blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Those relationships were strongest for low-income consumers.

"Most likely, it's because people eat less produce and switch to products that are less healthy," said study author Ilya Rahkovsky, an economist with the USDA's Economic Research Service in Washington, D.C.

The study is published online in the Feb. 13 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

A December study from the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that healthy eating costs the average person about $1.50 per day more than unhealthy eating.

That may not be such a stretch for a middle-class family. But experts say that kind of price hike may prohibitive for the poor, forcing them to swap fruits, vegetables and lean proteins for more processed and junk foods, which tend to be higher in fat, added sugar and calories.

The new study found that for every increase of roughly 10 cents per pound in the cost of produce, fasting blood sugar climbed 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or about 13 percent of the average fasting glucose level in the study, which was 162 mg/dL.

Every roughly 14-cent increase in a pound of low-fat dairy was tied to a 9 mg/dL increase in fasting blood sugar, about 6 percent of the average level.

While the study found an association between food prices and blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes, it did not establish a cause-and-effect link.

"Healthy foods are more expensive, and being forced to purchase unhealthy foods, maybe for economic reasons, does have health consequences," said Adam Drewnowski, director of the nutritional sciences program at the University of Washington, in Seattle. He was not involved in the research.

"Instead of merely advising people to consume expensive foods for better health, we ought to pay more attention to prices," he said.

More information

Visit the American Diabetes Association for a low-cost eating plan for diabetes.

SOURCES; Ilya Rahkovsky, Ph.D., economist, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.; Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., director, Nutritional Sciences Program, University of Washington, Seattle, February 13, 2014, American Journal of Public Health

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.