Do soaring food prices affect adults with type 2 diabetes? Sadly, the answer is yes. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, as the price of food increases so does your blood sugar.

Blood sugar levels in more than 2,400 adults with type 2 diabetes were analyzed, and compared to average grocery store prices in 35 U.S. markets over a period of three months. They found that blood sugar levels rose as the cost of healthy food items increased, and when the prices dropped so did people’s blood sugar. This relationship was most common in low-income consumers.

“These finding suggest that low-income US adults with type 2 diabetes benefit more (in terms of low blood sugar) from low prices of healthy food than their higher-income counterparts,” the study says.

Eating healthy comes at a cost. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that eating healthy costs the average person about $1.50 more per day versus unhealthy eating. They also found when the cost of produce rose by 10 cents per pound, people’s fasting blood sugar levels increased by 20 milligrams per deciliter. These spikes represent a jump of about 13 percent compared to the average fasting blood sugar level calculated in the study.

What can we do about it?

It’s hard when buying a bag of chips is cheaper than a pound of broccoli. But, with a little preparation you can anticipate the price spikes and work around them.

- Have a plan. Make sure when you go to the grocery store you have a list of items you need. If you go in unprepared you could end up walking out with more “convenience” foods than healthy choices.

- Eat what’s in season. Knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area can save you a lot of money. Do your research or talk to the employees in the produce department. If you’re buying in season and local, they are going to be fresh and packed full of nutrients that can by lost during the shipping time.

- Freeze your own. When fruits or vegetables are in season, buy them in bulk and store them in your freezer to use during the next price spikes. Lots of vegetables and fruits hold up great in the freezer.

- Try something new. Your store might be out of those fancy imported apples from Fiji, but that doesn’t mean you should just grab a candy bar instead. Maybe you’ll like the locally grown green apples that happen to be on sale every Friday even more. If a recipe calls for a sweet onion but regular yellow onions are half the price, give the cheaper option a try. Experiment with something new or use an alternate ingredient in a recipe. Who knows, you might like what you try.

To learn more on this topic:
Eating Healthy on a Budget
5 Ingredients or Less
Why the Food Industry Wants You to Eat Unhealthily