Healthiest eaters waste the most food

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A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzed eight years of food data and found that we waste 150,000 tons of food a day across the country. The good news is that the statistics only go to 2014, and with all the recent focus on wasted food, it’s possible that number isn’t quite so high now.

But, there’s no evidence that’s the case, and so I’m talking about food waste again. A 2015 study found that three-quarters of Americans believe they waste less food than the average person. If you’re a healthy eater, however, and you think you waste less food than others, you’re probably mistaken. The healthiest eaters waste the most food because they purchase the most fruits and vegetables.

Produce, the staple of healthy diets, is wasted most, followed by dairy products and then meat, according to the USDA study. Those perishables are often bought with the best intentions but spoil before they’re eaten.

The study, according to The Guardian, recommends educating consumers on how to store fruits and vegetables in order to reduce food waste.

Lisa Jahns, a USDA nutritionist and co-author of the study, told The Guardian, “Consumers aren’t connecting the dots, [and] they don’t see the cost when they throw food in the trash. At the same time, we don’t want to undermine legitimate food safety concerns and we need to be aware it’s not just the cost of food that’s the issue. It’s the time and energy required to prepare and store food, which often isn’t a priority in a busy household.”

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