Are healthy foods really more expensive

In my inbox today was an article Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive from the Economic Research Service (ERS). This has been a touchy subject with more for a long time. I understand the thought behind it, but if you really dig deep and give this some good thought, the answer is quite obvious. NO.

The research article determined their conclusion based off three methods

  • Price Per Calorie
  • Price Per edible gram
  • Price per average portion

To get price per calorie researchers use 100 grams of food divided by the calories. Price per editble grams takes into account only what can be eaten. It subtracts weight from factors such as skin and bones. Price per average portion is used because mostly people do not know if they eat 5 or 10 ounces of potato chips.

In conclusion the article found that it cannot be said that healthier foods are more expensive. Below is an snippet of the articles summary (yes I was getting lazy).

When I was finished with the article I realized they missed the most important point. People cannot afford to eat healthy.

Center for Science in the Public Interest found that out of 15 of the most common causes of death, inadequate nutrition and lack of physical exercise accounted for 5 causes of death. The top 3 causes of death are nutrition and exercise related.

The conditions/diseases listed above are not cheap to have.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the cost for heart disease in 2010 estimated 444 billion dollars in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society, the total cost of cancer in 2007 estimated 226.8 billion dollars in the United States.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost for Diabetes in 2007 exceeded 174 billion dollars in the United States. On average a person will spend $15,000 annually on diabetes.

That is mucho dinero! Even if you are super rich and paying thousands of dollars in health insurance and other factors has no impact on your wallet, it will have an impact on your life. It is not fun to constantly worry about taking medication, to go to dialysis 3x/week, constantly go to the doctors office…. you get the picture.

So back to eating healthy. Let’s say you spend an extra twenty dollars/week of fruits and vegetables. That will cost $1,040/year. Much cheaper than [paying for the care of any of the diseases listed above. Of course purchasing and consuming more fruits and vegetables is not going to cure you and free you of any chance of developing one of the disease listed above, but it certainty will lower your chances.

My goal in life is to help people come to the realization that everyone can live a healthy and of course for people to help achieve the health that they deserve. There is so much conflicting evidence and obnoxious products out on the market that people get confused. To be healthy you do not have to be a marathon runner, you do not have to be ‘skinny’, and you do not have to be rich or shop at Whole Foods. I am very aware that many of the recipes I feature have mainly organic products and fruits and vegetables form the Farmer’s Markets. This is not necessary to improve your health. That is my personal preference and my own values.

All it takes is one small change. Once you continuously work at your small change/goal, you will see differences in your health and will feel those changes. A healthy lifestyle is addicting. Once you start, you can’t stop!

So what is a small change?

  • Eat breakfast 2x/week instead of 0
  • Drink an extra glass of water/day
  • Increase your fruit and veggie intake by one extra serving/day
  • Take an extra 10 minutes of your day to exercise
  • Reduce the number of sugary drinks every other day
  • Avoid that second helping of ice cream every other day.
So why small? To be more realistic so you are more compliant. If you do not eat breakfast, you are going to have an extremely hard and unpleasant time eating breakfast 7 days/week. If you succeed in your small goal, you are going to be very happy and will be motivated to make more changes. If you fail your large goal, you will not be as inclined to make another change.
So next time you go to purchase a big bag of potato chips for $.89 instead of a fruit for $1.50 think about what the real cost of those potato chips are.