Affordability can be cited as a barrier to adopting a healthy eating pattern, although evidence for this viewpoint has been inconsistent to date. A plant based diet Mediterranean Diet, with Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the principle fat, has been shown to be more affordable than an individual’s usual eating pattern, especially when compared to a highly processed Western diet.
A 2013 study in the US with sixty-three participants found that individuals who followed a plant-based Mediterranean style eating pattern with an emphasis on cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil reduced their usual grocery spend by approximately thirty US dollars each week. This was the first study to show a decrease in food insecurity as the result of a dietary intervention and other improvements included a reduction in body weight and total grocery purchases including unhealthy products such as carbonated beverages.
Detailed analysis on twenty participants involved in a 2017 Randomized Control Trial in Australia found that following a Mediterranean diet was more affordable compared with the participants’ baseline diet, and reduced total grocery spend by approximately twenty-six dollars per week.
In addition to cost savings of the overall Mediterranean diet, comparing the cost of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to refined vegetable oils as an individual food item is not an accurate direct comparison. This is because these oils do not contain the rich variety of bioactive compounds such as antioxidants found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil that are proven to produce manifold health benefits , and to be associated with a lower rate of chronic disease.
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