A new study out of the Miriam Hospital and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank says that fresh veggies and fancy extra virgin olive oil are cheaper than even the cheapest USDA-recommended diet.
The study showed almost miraculous results, although none of them will be surprising for a native of countries like Spain and Italy, where such diets are still typical. Recipes were developed by Flynn at the Miriam Hospital, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. These were based on "plant-based olive oil diet recipes," and clients of the Food Bank were asked to use these recipes three times a week (they actually averaged 2.8 times a week).
A diet based on fresh fruit and vegetables, along with extra-virgin olive oil, is perceived by consumers as an expensive option, but the reverse is true: a Mediterranean-style diet costs around $750 per person less per year than the USDA’s cheapest healthy recommendations.
"Extra-virgin olive oil is also thought to be expensive," says lead author Mary Flynn, "but we suspected it was meat that made a diet expensive, and extra-virgin olive oil is cheaper than even small amounts of meat. We expected the two diets to be similar in fruit and vegetable content, but our plant-based diet was substantially cheaper, and featured a lot more fruits and vegetables and whole grains."
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