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Food Prices Tied to High Blood Sugar Levels

Update Date: Feb 14, 2014 02:57 PM EST

According to researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food prices appear to negatively affect diabetic people's health. After examining data provided from two large studies, the research team reported that higher food prices lead to an increased risk of high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the first study, the researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They had information on 2,400 adults that had type 2 diabetes. The researchers calculated the average grocery prices from 35 markets within the U.S. provided by the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database. The researchers compared the data, which encompassed a time span of three months, to the participants' blood sugar levels.

They reported that when healthy foods and low-fat diary prices increased, people's blood sugar levels did as well. The team also found that when these prices were reduced, people's blood sugar levels fell. The researchers stated that this relationship was the strongest for low-income individuals. This particular study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

In the second study that the USDA analyzed, the researchers found that when the cost of produce increased by 10 cent per pound, people's fasting blood sugar levels increase by 20 milligrams per deciliter. This spike represented a jump of 13 percent in comparison to the average fasting blood sugar level calculated in the study.

"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 reported by WebMD. Drewnowski was not involved with any of the studies. "Instead of merely advising people to consume expensive foods for better health, we ought to pay more attention to prices."

Based from the findings of both of these studies, researchers stated that focusing on making healthy foods affordable could greatly improve people's health.

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