Health, pocket and supply: the cost of healthy eating

The diet has flourished in recent years in Gonzalo Calvillo

The tendency to change toward ‘health’, prices matching foods to be ‘kept away’ and even recipes made in times of forced confinement due to the pandemic seem to drive changes, both in the body and in the supply of local trade.

Specialists and dealers told this newspaper that the modifications are notable in the expansion of new commercial varieties and also in the modification of other well-known items, such as bakeries, with options to remove without guilt.

In 2016, the healthy food basket was on average 27.1% more expensive than the traditional basket and last year the gap narrowed to 19.3%. The data is from a study conducted by the Governorate Development Observatory. In the healthy basket, a 40% reduction in sugar consumption and a 50% reduction in salt were considered. Cookies, cold cuts, butter, sugary drinks, dressings, concentrated seasonings, and alcoholic beverages are also eliminated. The incidence of ultra-treated products is reduced by 90% and groundwater is incorporated at recommended levels.

Nutrition graduate and secretary of the Laura Chiormi County College of Nutrition, (MP 008), emphasized that there are hopeful signs for those who want to lead a healthier and informed life, but it is also essential to make sure that food is within easy reach. “Unfortunately, fruit and vegetable consumption is not increasing and people are returning to the more monotonous,” said the professional.

The nutritionist highlighted that during the epidemic there was a change in habits that should continue to be encouraged, “People cared about eating better, returning to elaborate dishes; the law of labeling also appeared, but in addition to information, work should be done, for example, in school environments, to think about what could be improved to prevent disease.”

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Only 6% of the population consumes fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. The professional recommended stocking up on local products. “Anything sold at a vegetable vendor cannot be questioned; on the other hand, it must be borne in mind that some products sold in the diet can lead to confusion because they contain sugars or are fried, as is the case with bananas.

Fruit and vegetable producer Hector Bestrin is the fourth generation in the field and knows that there have been important changes in eating habits. He pointed out that “in the first eight months of the epidemic, it was very noticeable, people prepared their food, and already in 2021 the weather was calm, but those with better purchasing power know how to buy and consume more fruits and vegetables.”

Bestrin stressed that the change in eating habits is mainly noticeable in young people. “They buy an avocado even if it costs $150 because they know it’s nutritious and with just a few other products they can make a good dish,” he added.

Along these lines, the producer stressed that it will be important to strengthen all channels of information so that those with fewer resources learn to eat healthy and not just processed flour.

Hugo Natale, of the Association of Bakery Owners, said that a few years ago they started consuming more whole seeds as well as whole-grain breads, but ready-made mixes are expensive.

“The seeds or grains have a stabilizing process for later use and are expensive, but if they don’t, they taste bad,” he said.

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Natal pointed out that there is no problem in preparing bread without salt because it is similar to regular bread.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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