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Economic Cost of the Western Diet

The Western diet emphasizes refined grains, sweetened beverages, desserts, and foods derived from animals, including red meats, eggs, and dairy products. The foods are highly processed and have added salt, fats, and sugars that enhance their palatability and promote their consumption. The Western diet generally is deficient in fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and nonanimal proteins. There are detrimental health effects associated both with the heavy consumption of the foods that are included in the Western diet and with the low consumption of the recommended foods that are less prominent in the diet. The foods constituting the Western diet tend to be more energy dense, meaning that they contain high calories per ounce of food. The high energy density has contributed to significant gains ...

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