In today's economy, eating a healthy diet aimed towards weight loss must often be balanced with a limited grocery budget. A new tool promises to help consumers get the most nutritional bang for their buck.
The Affordable Nutrition Index (ANI)was created by Adam Drewnowski, PhD, and uses the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans to evaluate over 300 foods based on the content of essential nutrients. A food's nutrition score is determined by the amount of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E as well as the saturated fat, added sugars and sodium content. The ANI compares a nutritional score to a cost value in order to come up with a "nutrition-value-per-dollar" score.
Which foods ranked highest on the ANI scale?
- Carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli ranked highest among vegetables for nutrition-value-per-dollar.
- Oranges, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, nectarines, and apples were the most economical healthy fruits. Oranges and bananas had the best scores among all fruits.
- Peas, string beans, squash and lettuce also received honorable mentions for being affordable and nutritious.
The ANI uses a nutrition score based on Dr. Drewnowski's own "Nutrient Rich Foods Index". It then combines that score with pricing information gathered from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) 2001-2002 database, a 2008 survey of Seattle supermarkets. This development of the ANI was supported by Campbell Soup Company.