OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a cardioprotective dietary intervention based on UK dietary guidelines was more expensive than a conventional UK diet.
DESIGN: Cost analysis of food records collected at baseline and after a 12-week dietary intervention of a cardioprotective diet v. conventional UK diet.
SETTING: A randomized controlled dietary intervention study (CRESSIDA; ISRCTN 92382106) investigating the impact of following a diet consistent with UK dietary guidelines on CVD risk.
SUBJECTS: Participants were healthy UK residents aged 40-70 years. A sub-sample of participants was randomly selected from those who completed the cardioprotective dietary intervention (n 20) or the conventional UK dietary intervention (n 20).
RESULTS: Baseline diet costs did not differ between groups; mean daily food cost for all participants was £6·12 (sd £1·83). The intervention diets were not more expensive: at end point the mean daily cost of the cardioprotective diet was £6·43 (sd £2·05) v. the control diet which was £6·53 (sd £1·53; P=0·86).
CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence that consumption of a cardioprotective diet was more expensive than a conventional dietary pattern. Despite the perception that healthier foods are less affordable, these results suggest that cost may not be a barrier when modifying habitual intake and under tightly controlled trial conditions. The identification of specific food groups that may be a cost concern for individuals may be useful for tailoring interventions for CVD prevention for individuals and populations.